A Wealth of Options at Our Disposal

Writing in Blue Virginia on May 17, 2019, Delegate Sam Rasoul says, “For more than four years, residents of Southwest and Central Virginia, together with our allies across the Commonwealth, have been fighting to stop two fracked methane gas pipeline – the $7.5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the $4.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline. …. I am often asked what can Virginia do to stop these corporate boondoggles. I have heard some say the pipelines are ‘a done deal’ and that there’s nothing the state can do. Neither is true. We have a wealth of options at our disposal and citizens can play an important role in urging us to take these actions.”

Rasoul suggests:

  • Tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to Issue a Stop Work Order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline
  • Contact Virginia’s Congressional Delegation to Get Them to Oppose Dominion’s Effort to Force the Courts to Approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
  • Urge Attorney General Mark Herring to Facilitate a Stop Work Order to halt further damage by construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline
  • Urge Mark Herring to Stop Defending the Lawsuit Challenging Construction of a Massive Compressor Station in the Historic African American Community of Union Hill
  • Urge Governor Northam to Direct the Department of Environmental Quality to Stop Defending the Effort to Destroy Union Hill
  • Contact DEQ Director David Paylor to Issue a Stop Work Order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and to Take Action on Union Hill
  • Legislators Have a Powerful Tool – Our Voice – and We Should Use It
  • Join Anti-Pipeline Activities Like the May 17-18 Rallies in Richmond and Leesburg

Rasoul concludes, “The fight to stop these pipelines is part of a much larger struggle to uplift working and vulnerable families through social & economic justice, while directly confronting our climate crisis. This is a fight that not only can be won but must be won for the sake of our children and generations to come. We need to continue to speak out. We need to set Virginia on the right course.”

Read the full article here.

Ask Herring to Stand with Appalachia


On Saturday May 18, 2019, head up to the rally in Leesburg, 1-3 pm at the Leesburg Courthouse, to call on Attorney General Mark Herring to take every action within his power to halt construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Leesburg is Mark Herring’s home town, and he’s been invited to join the rally. Citizens will be asking that Herring

  • Advise the Department of Environmental Quality – his client – to issue a stop work order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline
  • Ask the court hearing his lawsuit against MVP to issue an injunction halting all work on the MVP
  • Advise the State Water Control Board that it has the power under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and under state law to commence proceedings to revoke the certification previously issued to MVP.

Delegate Sam Rasoul will be the MC and invited speakers include Karenna Gore of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary; Reverend Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus; Delegate Chris Hurst; Delegate Elizabeth Guzman; Professor Emily Hammond, George Washington University Law School; affected landowners, and more. Music will be provided by old time fiddler and banjoist Rachel Eddy and the SUN SiNG Collective’s Josh Vana, BJ Brown, and Graham Smith-White. There will be activities for kids, such as face painting, bubble-making, and a make-your-own water or prayer flag station, as well as a giant water spirit puppet courtesy of All Saints Theater Company Light refreshments will be provided with a suggested donation amount.

Legislation Introduced to Boost Public Participation in FERC Processes

From ABRA Update #230:

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation on May 15 to create an Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Public Engagement at FERC Act, S. 1477, will assist residential and small commercial energy consumers in participating in FERC proceedings, ensuring the public has a strong role in shaping the nation’s energy future. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (DMD) and Mark Warner (D-VA) are co-sponsors. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Shaheen introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, which was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as was S. 1477, but there were no hearings. It remains to be seen whether this new version will have a more positive fate.

Virginia Senators and Representatives Urged to Protect Appalachian Trail

On May 16, 2019, more than 50 organizations from across the state (including Friends of Nelson) sent a letter to Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and to Virginia’s members of the House of Representatives calling on them to resist Dominion Energy’s political pressure seeking legislation allowing it to get around a decision by a federal court.

Their letter says, “Congress should not legislate the permits or routes for gas pipelines through national parks in Virginia,” and asks the legislators to “protect the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the interests of our many members in Virginia by opposing any federal legislation that would exempt the Atlantic Coast or Mountain Valley pipelines from normal process or clear the path for the building or siting of these controversial projects.”

Write your own letters! Use the letters linked above as models for yours, or go to the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley’s “No Passes” page and use the links there to send email to your legislators.

Back in Nelson!


After installation and display at several sites on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, The Defenders have come back to Nelson County. The Defenders is the 8-foot tall and 8-foot wide anti-pipeline sculpture created by Mark Schwenk and Cheryl Langlais of Berkeley Springs West Virginia.

On Saturday afternoon, May 11, 2019, a group of volunteers disassembled the sculpture in Stuarts Draft, loaded it into pickup trucks, and brought it over the Blue Ridge to install it near the entrance to Wintergreen, near the area where Dominion clear cut trees in March 2018, and near the site of the proposed horizontal directional drilling under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail at Reeds Gap. The Defenders initial installation was at the Rockfish Valley Foundation in September 2018. Thanks to Jeff Heie and Charlie Strickler for the engaging video of the Saturday installation!