Category Archives: Citizen Activism

Walk with Me

On May, 17, 2019 Virginians and allies from the region walked with Union Hill to demand environmental justice and a stop to the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley fracked gas pipelines. They were joined by William Joseph Barber III and Karenna Gore of the Center for Earth Ethics. Returning to the route across the Robert E. Lee Bridge into Richmond traveled by civil rights advocates 51 years ago during Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic Poor People’s Campaign march to Washington D.C., hundreds called for an end to environmental racism and new fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens our ability to protect our homes, our water, and our children’s future.

Jessica Sims of Sierra Club Virginia Chapter led the collaboration of dozens of Virginia environmental and grassroots organizations, including the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Musical support was provided by the SUN SiNG Collective of ARTivism Virginia.

Featured here is singer, Bj Brown and speakers Queen Shabazz, Genesis Chapman, Karenna Gore, William Barber II, and Marie Gillespie. Other speakers for this event included: Beth Roach, Pastor Paul Wilson, Evelyn Dent, Lakshmi Fjord, Richard Walker, Andrew Tyler, Swami Dayananda, John Laury, Andrea Miller, Travis Williams and Chad Oba. Other ARTivists included All the Saints Theater, Lilly Bechtel, Tom Burkett, Tom Elliott, Kay Ferguson, Gabe Gavin, Jameson Price, Mara Eve Robbins, Graham Smith-White, Laney Sullivan, Siva Stephen Fiske and Joshua Vana.

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.

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!

Mother’s Day Pie


Our allies in southwest Virginia who are fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline urge everyone to join them for Mother’s Day Pie! On Sunday, May 12, 2019, at 3:33 pm (or whenever you like), mothers and those who love mothers will gather wherever they are to share stories, eat pie and proclaim their dedication to protecting and defending our sacred waters. If you would like to participate, please do! Your event can be as large or as small as you like. A simple live stream video with pie-eating and proclamation delivery may be enough, or you might wish to have a large community gathering. It’s entirely up to you and your community.

Film yourself reading a proclamation while you eat your pie – or do the proclamation with a group as call and response.

Depending where you live, there are two related events you may wish to attend, one in VA (Floyd County, at the Anahata retreat center) and one in WV (Summers County, at the Laferriere’s Blackberry Springs farm). We also (really) hope you will consider hosting one yourself!