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. …”
(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. …“
(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. …“
(October 21, 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)