Virginia is dying, Protesters are starving, Governor does nothing

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines are killing the environment in Virginia. Just in the past few days, we’ve seen how tree clearing has caused massive mudslides to happen throughout the state. Yet, the construction of these pipelines continues even though the vast majority of Virginia’s do not approve of these pipelines. The Atlantic Coast pipeline for the moment is halted but that does not mean that building will not continue later. Activist have been pressuring elected officials in all levels of government to speak out about these pipelines. Nearly all of the Democratic legislators and candidates for office at the federal, state, and local level are against these pipelines but we are still trying to get a straight answer out of Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

During the campaign of 2017 in Virginia, the pipeline issue was at the forefront at every debate for the Democratic nomination. Democrat Tom Perriello came out strongly against the pipelines as well as many candidates running for the house of delegates. Unfortunately, we never got a clear answer from now Governor Ralph Northam on the MVP and ACP pipelines. He put a lot of faith in DEQ and FERC to determine if the pipelines would hurt the environment. During his campaign Governor, Ralph Northam mentioned that he would have focus groups on the pipelines in order to come to a consensus with anti-pipeline activist. To this day those focus groups have not happened. All we have seen are peoples land being stolen and the destruction of the environment in Virginia.

If anyone had the pleasure of attending a DEQ public hearing about either one of the pipelines then they would know that the fix was in from the beginning. It was amazing to see how many “pro-pipeline” presenters were bussed in from hearing to hearing in order to give false statements about how great the pipelines will be for Virginia. I remember one young lady telling the board that digging a small hole to plant a flower caused more damage to the earth that any of the pipelines would ever do. Was this nonsense statement believed? Apparently so since pipeline construction is happening right now.

The people are fighting back against the MVP and ACP pipelines. Recently we’ve seen how “Red Terry” and “Nutty” have taken a stand against the pipelines even while the state denied them food and water. The state will not allow activist like Nutty to receive food or water in an attempt to starve her out and scare others thinking of doing the same. One might ask how can this be legal, especially when some protesters are doing these actions on their own land. Who’s side is the state on? Is it worth destroying the land just so a private corporation can collect profit in the short term? Is it worth starving someone to death to get these pipeline built? Neither of these fracked gas pipelines will boost the economy in Virginia as most of the product will be sold overseas. Let’s also not forget how environmental racism comes into play in the construction of pipelines. Union Hill, a historical freedmen community in Buckingham County VA will be the host of a compressor station that will disrupt that community for generations. It will give off toxic emissions and extremely loud noise 24/7. Still, this fight has fallen on deaf ears as Dominion Energy and the powers that be in Virginia ignore this risk to public and environmental health.

If these pipelines were coming through wealthy communities you can guarantee that construction would not be happening. Yet since they are going through the land home to minorities and rural working people they are considered disposable by the energy companies and government. The world needs to wake up to what is happening in Virginia. We all know what happened in standing rock and how the state violated peoples rights to help corporations profit. We are at the tipping point with climate change. Some scientist even say that we are past the tipping point to slow global warming. If the earth is continued to be destroyed for private gain then we will not have a planet to leave our children. Everyone should care about clean water. Everyone should care about clean air. Virginia is dying, who’s going to save her?

Eric Stamps

@ericstamps

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