Category Archives: Citizen Activism

Your Voice Is Needed

A request from Wild Virginia:

The Trump administration has acted to weaken Virginia’s ability to protect our water from projects like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

We need your voice!

Please call Attorney General Mark Herring today at 804-786-2071.
Tell him to challenge an illegal regulation just finalized by the Trump administration to weaken state powers under the Clean Water Act

Background:
Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has now finalized a change to the regulation governing states’ authorities under section 401 of the Clean Water Act; a portion of the law through which Congress intended to retain historic state authorities over their own environments and to veto or alter federally-licensed projects that would damage their waters and their people.

Last October, Wild Virginia sent this letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring urging him to strongly oppose this regulatory change and many of you contacted him as well. We are grateful that AG Herring acted in our interest to preserve Virginia’s authority by joining 23 other states in comments to the EPA opposing this move. Predictably, EPA ignored those comments and others from thousands of citizens across the country, in favor of industry interests who seek to avoid proper environmental regulation.

Now, it’s time for our Attorney General to go to court to defeat EPA’s unlawful action. 

Please join us in calling on the Attorney General today! (and thank him for his previous action) As stated in our letter from last year: The Commonwealth of Virginia, since its founding, has a strong history of independence and we must not now defer to the wishes of a President who would trample our rights in favor of fossil fuel companies and others who would despoil our state for profit. 

Please take a moment to add your voice and urge Mark Herring to stand up for our right to protect our water 804-786-2071.

A Look Back

On May 28, 2020, we posted an Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance commentary, Six Years and Counting! reflecting on the six years of our fight against Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. There was no real demand or need in 2014, and there is even less demand or need in 2020.

Take a look back with two videos, both made in 2015.  The arguments made in the videos are still good – and six years later, the ACP is nowhere near a done deal!

In 2015, Arlo Bloom was a 14-year-old Nelson County resident who would be a 9th grader at Nelson County High School in September 2015. For his 8th grade end of the year school project he created an 18-minute documentary about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the issues concerning it.  In the documentary, speaking about the ACP, Connie Brennan, then a member of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors and now Vice President of Friends of Nelson, says, “Young people really need to take this seriously because this is our land, this is our world, and we need all of you to stand up and say, ‘Hey! Hello! You’re leaving all of this to us! What can we do? What should we be doing? What do we want to see for the future?’”


Julie Burns’ brother and sister-in-law, George McCollough and Anna Savoia, made a wonderful video titled “No Pipeline, Say the Friends of Nelson.” You may recognize some of your neighbors in the 29 minute film, including the late John Ed Purvis, a passionate pipeline opponent.  After six years, Julie has just stepped down as Friends of Nelson Board member and Secretary – thanks, Julie!

Six Years and Counting!

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 278, May 28, 2020:

It was six years ago this week that Dominion Energy began contacting local officials in Virginia and West Virginia to advise them of the company’s plans to build a natural gas pipeline through their communities. Initially called the Southeast Reliability Project, the pipeline was to cost $4 billion and be operational by end of 2018. In September, the project was re-named the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Duke Energy was named as a partner. Also in September 2014, the organization of ABRA was announced.

In its briefings of county boards that summer, Dominion representatives stated:

  • The project would be the “energy equivalent of broadband infrastructure,” providing a “key driver in a community’s ability to attract economic development.”
  • It would promote price stability and enhance economic opportunity.
  • Substantial economic benefits including a substantial number of well-paying construction jobs and additional tax base in communities along the route” would be provided.
  • Dominion looks forward to working with affected landowners and communities “to ensure that we can optimize the balance of environmental stewardship and economic opportunity that is created” by the project.

As of May 2020:

  • The project, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on October 13, 2017, is lacking 8 key permits, primarily as the result of lawsuits brought by ABRA members and allied organizations. The missing permits are those from the Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Air Pollution Control Board and needed permits from four Army Corps of Engineers Districts.
  • Construction on the project has remained suspended since December 2018, 17-months ago.
  • The estimated cost of the ACP is now $8 billion, twice the original estimate.
  • The ACP, if built, is not expected to be operational until 2022, 3-years later than planned.

The final chapter of this story has yet to be written. ABRA members and supporters can take satisfaction in the fact that they have had a major part in influencing the story so far.

Join ARTivism on Thursdays through June

Join ARTivism from 7-8 on Thursday evenings through June as they bring us the SUN SiNG in Place Concert Series (May 21, June 4, June 18) and Street SiNG Workshop Series (May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25).

STREET SiNG Workshops are bi-weekly hour long zoom workshops to cultivate skills, art and agreements for future environmental events in Virginia. Each workshop will have time for a teach in and time for participation. Pre-registration required. Additional information here.

“SUN SiNG iN PLACE” is an online concert series from ARTivism Virginia featuring music from individual SUN SiNG Collective members and those they’re quarantined with, as well as guest ARTivists and leaders in the fight against the Mountain Valley, Atlantic Coast, and MVP Southgate pipelines, and other threatening fracked gas infrastructure in our region.

Environmental resistance music, poetry, guest speaker updates, video and action alerts. Uplift promised.  Live on Facebook: www.facebook.com/artivismvirginia/ on Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/artivismvirginia/ and and on YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/artivismvirginia/ Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/211320550098945/20550098945/

See the May 7 concert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTL9prwtaoo

Rockbridge Planning Commission to Consider Approval of ACP Yard

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ABRA Update 275, May 7, 2020:

A proposed storage yard for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be the subject of a May 13 meeting of the Rockbridge County (VA) Planning Commission to discuss its possible approval. (See Concerns Expressed About Proposed ACP Yard in Goshen, VA.) The proposed contractor yard, to be located in Goshen, VA, would be an active hub for pipe welding, fuel storage, pipeline worker rendezvous, material storage, and construction vehicle travel to pipeline installation locations in neighboring Bath, Highland, and Augusta counties.

Action is needed! ABRA members and activists are urged to file comments in opposition to the proposal with the Planning Commission in advance of the May 13 meeting.

For more information, click here for an alert and share it with others.

Public to Dominion: Time to Abandon ACP


Press release from Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Clean Virginia, May 6, 2020:

Thousands of Virginians, Scores of National Groups Tell Dominion CEO and Shareholders to Abandon Atlantic Coast Pipeline

CHESAPEAKE CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK, CLEAN VIRGINIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2020

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, CCAN 
denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 240-630-1889
Cassady Craighill, Communications Director, Clean Virginia 
cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

Nearly 4000 residents sign petitions; 78 groups sign on to full-page ad calling on Dominion shareholders to abandon controversial pipeline

RICHMOND, VA — Today, as Dominion Energy meets virtually for its annual shareholder meeting, an unprecedented coalition of advocacy organizations and Virginia residents have sent a message to shareholders and board members, calling on the utility monopoly to abandon its plans to build the highly controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). 

A coalition of 78 prominent advocacy organizations from Virginia and across the country signed onto a letter that will be displayed in a full-page Richmond Times-Dispatch ad and a half-page Washington Post ad on May 6, the day of Dominion Energy’s annual shareholder meeting. The ad, addressed to shareholders, states: “New legislation and legal challenges have rendered the completion of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline unrealistic.” The letter points to the pipeline’s $8 billion price tag, eight missing permits necessary for construction, and the fact that Dominion recently informed state regulators that “significant build-out of natural gas generation facilities is not currently viable” under the state’s new law requiring Dominion to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. 

A law signed last month by Governor Northam, HB 167, significantly raises the threshold for Dominion to pass any of the cost of the ACP onto ratepayers. In order to recover costs from Virginians as planned, Dominion must now prove a need for the energy the pipeline would supply in Virginia and that the pipeline was the lowest-cost way to produce that energy.

Additionally, two petitions garnering nearly 4,000 signatures were delivered to Dominion executives and shareholders today. With one petition, over 2200 Virginia residents called on Dominion CEO Tom Farrell to walk away from the pipeline “for the financial health of the company.” Another petition gathered over 1800 signatures to tell Dominion shareholders that the pipeline “no longer makes economic sense, even based on Dominion Energy’s own logic,” and that “continuing to pursue this project is fiscally irresponsible.” 

VIEW FULL AD HERE AND PETITIONS HERE AND HERE

Dominion Energy’s stubborn push to continue building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline despite ballooning costs, legal and permitting challenges, and a seismic shift in Virginia’s energy landscape betrays its duty to shareholders,” said Brennan Gilmore, Executive Director of Clean Virginia. “The responsible thing — for Virginians and shareholders alike — is for Dominion to shutter the project before another tree is felled.”

After the coronavirus, the last thing we need is another crisis at our doorstep,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “If built, the pipeline would be a disaster for both the economy and public health. And now that the economic case is stronger than ever, it’s time to end this dangerous project once and for all.”

Our normal way of life because of the pandemic is not even close to returning. Factor this together with the economic uncertainties and the harmful impacts to the health and welfare of many elderly, low income and majority African Americans in the proposed compressor station neighborhood of  Union Hill, and you have something that is absolutely unjustified,” said Chad Oba, President Friends of Buckingham.

Recent research shows that higher levels of air pollution increase the risk of death and hospitalization from COVID-19. Increasing toxic emissions takes us on the wrong path, placing Virginians at increased risk from the current pandemic as well as from other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases” Samantha Ahdoot, MD, Chair of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action.

The letter to Dominion shareholders was signed by the following organizations: Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Alliance for Affordable Energy, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Appalachian Voices, Berks Gas Truth, Better Path Coalition, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Bold Alliance, Bold Iowa, Bridging The Gap In Virginia, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Center for Sustainable Economy, Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clean Virginia, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, Climate Disobedience Center, Climate Hawks Vote, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Divest RVA Earth Action Inc, Earthworks, ENOUGH is ENOUGH Preserve VA, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, First Alliance Consulting LLC, Food & Water Action, Friends of Buckingham, Friends of Nelson, Friends of the Earth, Green New Deal VA, Greenpeace USA, Hip Hop Caucus, Indigenous Environmental Network, Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, La ColectiVa, Lancaster Against Pipelines, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Mothers Out Front VA, Movement Rights, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (anti-nuclear), Oil Change International, Our Revolution Alexandria, Piedmont Environmental Council, Preserve Giles County, Property Rights and Pipeline Center, Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, Reclaim Augusta, Richard Freeman Allan, Richmond For All, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC), Rockfish Valley Investments, LLC, Scenic Virginia, Stand.earth, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Sustainable Roanoke, Together We Will Henrico, United Parents Against Lead & Other Environmental Hazards (UPAL), Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, Virginia Community Rights Network, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Democracy Forward (VADF), Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Virginia Justice Democrats, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Virginia Network for Democracy and Environmental Rights, Virginia Organizing, Wild Virginia, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, Yogaville Environmental Solutions, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Center For Sustainable Communities, 350 Alexandria, 350 Fairfax, 350 Loudoun, 350.org