Although energy is essential to function in our daily lives, energy access and affordability threaten many of our neighbors in vulnerable communities. Fossil fuel industries also present a great threat to the health of our communities and raise environmental justice concerns as 50% of Virginia power plants are located in areas with low-income populations and people of color ( EPA. 2015. EJ Screening Report for the Clean Power Plan https://archive.epa.gov/epa/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/ejscreencpp.pdf).
Knowing this fact, VAIPL advocates for environmental justice with state agencies, decision-makers, and legislators at the state and federal level. We also align with frontline communities to support their efforts to resist polluting industries and infrastructure planned for their regions. VAIPL is committed to empowering our neighbors to say no to toxic industries in their communities and relieve the energy burden and guarantee access to sufficient and affordable energy for all Virginia communities.
Pipelines and Fossil Fuels
Pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructures contribute to the climate crisis. We must make major strides together as people of faith and conscience to create a just and sustainable world. The costs of climate change, pollution, and commonly occurring pipeline leaks and breaks are felt by all Virginians. But, their direct social and economic costs are health impacts to air, water, and land, loss of land values and rights, forced most often upon communities of color and low-income rural communities with the least political power and histories of discrimination. VAIPL’s work advocating against fossil fuels and for a clean energy economy is rooted in environmental justice.
Virginia households have a more costly energy burden than the national average – the average electricity burden is unaffordable for over 75% of Virginia households based on federal energy burden standards. VAIPL works to make sure energy is affordable and that Virginian families do not spend such high percentages of their income to afford essential energy.