Official Statements

Statement: Air Pollution Control Board Defers Air Permit Vote on the Buckingham Compressor Station

In response, Kendyl Crawford, Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, released the following statement:

“Virginians of faith have taken action out of a moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable from the negative impacts of fossil fuel infrastructure. Today, over 40 people of faith, who are also Dominion Energy customers, have turned off their lights as part of a 24-hour Power-Fast and an act of solidarity with Union Hill.

We are thankful that the Air Pollution Control Board has decided to take additional time to consider environmental injustice, site suitability, and cumulative impacts of the entire pipeline by deferring their vote on the air permit.

We believe that decisions about energy production are moral issues at their core, and that sacrificing our neighbors’ health and safety for a private company to profit is wrong.”

Read the full release.

(November 9, 2018)


Statement: Interfaith Organization Encourages Governor Northam to Reaffirm Commitment to Environmental Justice

In response, Kendyl Crawford, Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, released the following statement:

“In the past, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler have both spoken on their commitment to environmental justice. We urge Governor Northam to reflect on the importance of justice enabling all Virginians to live in a clean, safe environment.

We encourage him to issue an executive order re-affirming his commitment to environmental justice that firmly places the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice on solid legal ground. In these turbulent times, our society must not forget our higher call to love and care for our neighbors.”

Read the full release.

(October 25, 2018)


Press Release – Faith Delegation Recommends Urgent Action on Pipelines
VAIPL report details moral implications of Atlantic Coast Pipeline Buckingham compressor station

“In light of recent setbacks for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light released a report today entitled Our Air, Our Lives: Religious Fact-Finding Delegation to Buckingham County. The report recommends urgent action, such as participating in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Buckingham compressor station air permit public comment period open through September 11 and interfaith prayer and meditation for the strength and renewal of the residents of Buckingham and those across Virginia being impacted by the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. …

Read the full press release.

(August 16, 2018)


VAIPL Steering Committee Statement in response to the current Administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy for people seeking asylum at our southern border

“… Some may be wondering why and how this might relate to the mission of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light. Our mission is to work with people of all faiths to ensure healthy communities and climate justice through education and advocacy. This work and mission is increasingly related to immigration as we see the consequences and impacts of the climate crisis grow around the globe. In our hemisphere, more peoples will be driven from their homelands due to drought, wildfires, floods, severe storms, insect infestations, and extreme heat waves. A global community that strives for human rights will be called upon to respond with support and welcome to the many who will be displaced. The negative trend in this nation, coming from the leadership in government and supported by some citizens, to respond with negative immigration and hard hearted zero tolerance policies exacerbates the suffering of those seeking refuge and may lead to even more diabolical remedies. …”

Read the full statement.

(July 3, 2018)


Press Release – Faith Leaders Deliver Letter to Northam Calling for Environmental Justice in Memory of MLK
Praying for Communities in Destructive Path of Pipelines

“On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., faith leaders gathered on the Virginia Capitol Grounds for a vigil and to deliver a sign-on letter (pasted below) to Governor Ralph Northam from 70 lay leaders and clergy raising urgent environmental justice concerns felt by communities along the proposed routes of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. The letter calls for Northam to reject the pipelines.

“’Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said ‘Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness’ and in my view, those who choose and side with pipelines, compressor stations, who deny the devastating effects that man has and inflicts upon nature have chosen the latter,’ said Rev. Paul Wilson, Senior Pastor of Union Hill/Grove Baptist Church. …”

Read the full press release.

(April 4, 2018)


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. …

Read the full statement.

(December 20, 2017)


Press Release – Interfaith Leaders Confront Environmental Racism in Virginia

“On the heels of the efforts to begin repealing the Clean Power Plan last week, interfaith leaders, academics and community members came together to discuss solutions to environmental racism at Coburn Hall on the Virginia Union University campus on Saturday, October 21. The event was moderated by Dr. Corey Walker, Dean of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University and featured speakers from the medical community and Christian, Muslim, Baha’i and Hindu backgrounds. …

Read the full press release.

(October 21, 2017)


Press Release – Virginia Interfaith Power & Light: Clean Power Plan repeal unacceptable

“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. …”

Read the full press release.

(October 10, 2017)


VAIPL Board of Directors’ Statement: “In the wake of Hurricane Harvey…”

“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. …”

Read the full statement. 

(September 8, 2017)


VAIPL Board of Directors’ Statement on the Events in Charlottesville

“… 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. …”

Read the full statement, and our Open Letter to Charlottesville that our IPL affiliates, congregations, clergy, and individuals signed onto.

(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 #WaterIsLife

(February 9, 2017)