VAIPL Board of Director’s Statement in response to the Virginia State Water Control Board’s decisions to approve the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines
“On Thursday, December 7, the State Water Control Board voted 5-2 to approve the permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. On Tuesday, December 12, the board voted 4-3 to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline pending approval of a series of plans and mitigation measures. Both decisions were made after extensive testimony from landowners and experts on the property rights violations and threats to public health that the pipelines pose. Testimony included hundreds of face-to-face personal statements and thousands of publicly submitted comments.
As people driven by faith to uphold a vision of the intrinsic worth of Creation, shared abundance, neighborly love, and the sanctity of life, we at Virginia Interfaith Power and Light condemn the Water Control Board’s decision as absolutely counter to these values.”
(December 20, 2017)
“The Trump administration’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan abdicates our country’s moral responsibility to act to protect the most vulnerable among us. This action will cause additional needless suffering not only for those living in the United States, but across the globe as extreme weather grows increasingly deadly. …”
(October 10, 2017)
“Less than two weeks ago, we witnessed a horrible tragedy unfold in Texas and on the Gulf Coast. Now thousands are beginning to make their way back to their homes. This past Sunday, on the National Day of Prayer for Harvey victims, folks of all faiths across the nation prayed for healing and peace after the storm that took the lives of at least 60 people. VAIPL’s Board and staff work everyday to increase the capacity for Virginians to live sustainable lives. Our commitment to Virginia does not preclude keeping faith with other communities around the country and world who need our help. …”
(September 8, 2017)
“… We work every day to advocate for justice focusing specifically on environmental policies and laws that will protect clean air and water for Virginians. We also work to protect the wonderful gift of the creation and we do so as an act of worship and gratefulness. These efforts are tightly linked to intersecting justice issues, which impact all of our lives. …”
(August 16, 2017 & September 15, 2017)
In Response to Executive Directive 11, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light co-chair Rev. Dr. Faith Harris Released the Following Statement:
Our Virginia faith communities applaud Gov. McAuliffe for speaking out for climate action and for taking a step – through Executive Directive 11 — to limit carbon pollution throughout the state. Our nation’s current climate progress rests with state governors and legislators, and we’re particularly grateful that Gov. McAuliffe understands the need to act now.
That said, it is critical that we recognize the effects of carbon pollution, especially on Virginia’s most vulnerable populations, and take strong action to address these negative impacts. Therefore, as people of faith who are called to stand with “the least of these,” we commend to your attention the recommendations of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, prepared for the EO 57 Working Group in February 2017 — specifically, creating an Environmental Justice Advisory Council and convening a Coastal Community Resiliency Task Force.
It is our moral obligation to speak out for climate justice, and we implore Gov. McAuliffe to consider further possible action.
(May 31, 2017)
Letter of Support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline
As the leaders of Virginia Interfaith Power and Light (VAIPL), we stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies who are using their bodies as shields against the destructive potential of a pipeline which will transport somewhere between 470,000 and 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day across four states. The leaders of VA IPL agree that transporting oil through pipelines threatens the environment, as well as Indigenous burial and prayer sites. And expanding fossil fuel infrastructure perpetuates our use of dirty energy that damages our life-giving climate, when we should all be working instead to expand clean energy “from heaven,” powered by the wind and sun.
The sacred land is entrusted to all of our care and the water protectors, who are facing arrest and excessive force, are reminding us that it is all of our responsibility to be keepers of Creation. Please encourage your faith community to pray for our brothers and sisters fighting to protect the water and land. Take further action by calling Defense Secretary Mattis (703-571-3343 Ext. #5) or calling the White House (1-888-201-9377) to demand that a full Environment Impact Statement be completed before further action is taken. Learn more at http://standwithstandingrock.net/. #WaterIsLife
(February 9, 2017)