On Sunday, July 17, upwards of 50 people gathered at a local bar and eatery in Charlottesville to celebrate the completion of a two-week, 150-mile trek along the proposed path of the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The ACP, which will cut a destructive path through mountains, forests, farms, homes and hundreds of rivers and streams, is proving to be an environmental, ethical and land rights nightmare. The pipeline will endanger drinking water, require extensive mountain-top removal, and torch the state’s commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement.
In addition, Dominion’s abuse of eminent domain is causing an uproar. Pipeline reps are going door to door asking people to sign away their neighbors’ rights to their own land. Hundreds of families will have their land seized against their will if Dominion is successful. Dominion wants to build the pipeline’s compressor station in the majority-black Union Hill neighborhood of Buckingham County, despite the fervent protests of residents, a decision that reeks of environmental racism. The compressor station will pose grave health risks to those who live near it.
The companies behind the pipelines are using every tool in their considerable power to sidestep citizen efforts to stop the ACP pipeline and Mountain Valley pipeline. They are rushing secretive public hearings, funneling money into political campaigns, have launched a front group to oppose pipeline protestors, and are funding support for the pipeline in the media (including the EnergySure website).
The “Walking the Line” pilgrimage was an effort to meet this sheer power with the indomitable spirit of the people of Central Virginia. However, Virginians from across the state will need to act if the pipeline is to be stopped, particularly people of faith who are called to care for creation and stand up for the powerless.
How you can help stop the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines:
- Hold a forum for your congregation about how the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines will affect all Virginians. Email us at email@example.com for informational materials or to arrange to have somebody come speak to your congregation.
- Write letters to the editor. The more letters newspapers receive, the more they will realize that this issue is important to Virginians.
- Call Gov. Terry McAuliffe at 804-786-2211 and tell him to block the pipelines. Speak to gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) on the campaign trail and ask them to promise to block the pipelines. (Northam is not hearing about this from his voting blocks in Northern Virginia and on the coast!)
- Show up at one of the rushed, secretive hearings for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Atlantic Coast Pipeline hearings are in Harrisonburg (8/7), Farmville (8/10), and Dinwiddie (8/14). Mountain Valley Pipeline hearings are in Radford (8/8) and Chatham (8/9). Check out the Facebook event for more information on these hearings.