The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA), a private non-profit organization that owns and operates George Washington’s Mount Vernon, today announced its public opposition to a planned natural gas compressor station by Dominion Energy directly across the Potomac River from the home of George Washington.  In no way does a natural gas compressor station belong in this mission-protected, historic landscape, and the MVLA vehemently urges Dominion Energy to find a more suitable location.

The Regent and Vice Regents of the MVLA are alarmed and dismayed in Dominion Energy’s decision to locate a natural gas compressor station in this location. Since purchasing Mount Vernon from the Washington family in 1858, and protecting it throughout the Civil War, the MVLA has worked steadfastly to ensure that our first president’s home and the view of the Potomac River that he so dearly treasured would be preserved for future generations.

“Today the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association joins with local leaders to publicly and forcefully oppose the location of Dominion’s natural gas compressor station,” said Regent Sarah Miller Coulson. “This compressor station and its related access needs would profoundly disturb George Washington’s iconic landscape that generations have worked tirelessly to preserve.”

Since learning of plans for the construction of a gas compressor station, Mount Vernon has endeavored to obtain more information about this planned construction and comparable stations. Mount Vernon became increasingly alarmed by the information that was obtained about this project—particularly by discrepancies in the estimated planned stack heights. There is heightened concern about the destruction that would result should a fire occur as a result of this development, which would devastate its surroundings.

With limited protective infrastructure and the absence of a professional fire department in close proximity, a fire could result in catastrophic damage for residences, businesses, and possibly even the loss of lives, in addition to the destruction of irreplaceable environmental features.

The protection of Washington’s viewshed is an essential part of the mission of the MVLA, the nation’s first historic preservation organization. In the 1950s, when threats of development to this breathtaking vista emerged, the Regent and Vice Regents of the MVLA acted swiftly and deliberately to prevent the proposed encroachments from proceeding. The determined efforts of these women led to the establishment of Piscataway Park on the Maryland riverfront. Since then, through the vigilance of the MVLA and its partners in preservation, the more than one-million visitors who come to Mount Vernon each year continue to find inspiration in the same remarkable view that George Washington cherished.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association today operates Mount Vernon with the same diligence to protect the iconic appearance of George Washington’s original view, one that has been admired by more than 87 million guests in the Association’s long-term stewardship of the property.

With its prominence in the Virginia public and business community, and as a corporation that impacts many lives and industries, Dominion must also place a value on its reputation and legacy. Surely Dominion would not want to be cast, in the minds of each Mount Vernon visitor as the company that forever destroyed George Washington’s view? Protecting George Washington’s view is a matter of national importance, and it is a responsibility that we, as Americans, all share. Please join the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in its opposition to the location of Dominion Energy’s natural gas compressor station in the long-protected Mount Vernon viewshed.

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