RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has aggressively questioned lawyers about a contentious plan to build a natural gas compressor station in a historic African American community in Virginia.

A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday from opponents who want to overturn a permit for a compressor station in Union Hill for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The unincorporated community was founded by freed slaves.

Opponents are concerned that exhaust from the station could cause harmful health effects on nearby residents.

The judges peppered lawyers for the Air Pollution Control Board and lead developer Dominion Energy about whether the state carefully considered the potential health impacts on residents.

A state lawyer said the station’s emissions will be significantly lower than at other compressor stations in Virginia.

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