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People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Environmental Justice
October 28, 2017 @ 11:30 am - 7:00 pm
In the painful aftermath of the recent racist violence in Charlottesville, we seek to draw a straight line between these white supremacist attacks and the slow violence of unequally borne environmental devastation. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) routes target rural, poor, African American, Native American, and Appalachian communities from West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina to bear the disproportionate burden of their toxic polluting fracked gas infrastructure.
On October 28, 2017 in Charlottesville’s City Space, we will hold a people’s tribunal to investigate and document evidence of environmental injustice and racism by the ACP and MVP using a human rights query format. Its bases are in the UN Convention on Racism and Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the UN Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking. UN people’s tribunals create public space to present evidence for and information about issues critical to a just and civil society, especially those that have not been recognized as violations of human rights.
Tribunal testimonies will present evidence of first person impacts of both pipelines on environmental justice communities. In Union Hill, Buckingham, VA — an 85% African American, historic Freedmen community — the ACP purchased former Variety Shade plantation lands from white descendants to site their only Virginia mega-compressor station within 150 ft. of 99 Union Hill households. For the MVP and ACP, the majority of landowners targeted to give up their property rights are rural, impoverished Appalachians.
Other evidence-based testimonies we will document and live-stream will be by historians, environmental scientists on fracked gas infrastructure hazards to ecosystems, medical experts on the health impacts of compressor stations and pipelines, economists on the cost benefits of racism and inequality and also the lack of need to build any more fracked gas transmission pipelines in Virginia.
To build the ACP alone will cost Dominion’s ratepayers $5 billion. Together ACP and MVP will present Virginians with an incalculable bill for climate change costs.
These testimonies will be presided over by experts in these fields as “judges” who will summarize findings and propose recommendations to policy makers.
These are imminent threats. Within the month, ACP and MVP hope FERC will issue certificates of use to start construction. In November, Virginians elect a new governor and legislators. The time is now to provide Virginia residents with the facts about who is being forced by the developers to pay with their health, clean air, water, and soil for the economic benefit of corporate stockholders and not the common good.
Ways you can help: as co-sponsors, judges, testifiers, fundraisers, donors and event volunteers in this effort to bring local, state, and national awareness to the environmental injustices within imminent fracked gas infrastructure threats to our climate, health, and sustainable futures.
For more information, including the list of sponsoring organizations, see the People’s Tribunal flyer here.
Friends of Buckingham, Virginia Sierra Club, Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), Concern for the New Generation – BREDL, Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, Appalachian Voices, Bold Alliance, Protect Our Water Heritage Rights (POWHR), Yogaville Environmental Solutions, Journey the James, Cville Rising, 350 Central Virginia, Preserve Montgomery, Preserve Franklin, Preserve Giles, Oil Change International, Rachel Carson Council, Virginia Organizing, Interfaith Power and Light, Cville Indivisible, ARTivism Virginia, Friends of Nelson.
Friends of Nelson welcomes event listings from all related groups who are working to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. To have your event listed on our calendar, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.