Category Archives: Environmental Impact

Tree-Sit Pipeline Protests, MVP, and ACP

The Loudoun County Democratic Committee issued an April 27, 2018, press release on Tree-Sit Pipeline Protests, MVP, and ACP:

Natural gas is neither safe nor clean. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) present unacceptable risks to water quality, unacceptable contribution to climate change in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, unacceptable threats to social justice in communities affected, unacceptable impact to the forests and wildlife in the Commonwealth, unacceptable risks to human health, and unacceptable use of eminent domain.

To quote Delegate Danica Roem, one of fourteen Virginia legislators who recently held a press conference to condemn construction of the pipelines, “I’m a property rights Democrat and an environmental Democrat, and this is bad for both; We are one Commonwealth…it is our obligation to stand with people in Southwest Virginia. We all represent the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have to be united.”

Democrats in Loudoun are conscientious stewards of the environment, advocates of rural conservation and defenders of social justice. Many in our membership and leadership are alarmed at the treatment of Theresa “Red” Terry, her daughter Minor and others, who are actively engaged in tree-sit protests on their own property to obstruct tree clearing progress on the MVP and ultimately construction of the pipeline itself. Even more disconcerting, one of the enormous compressor stations on the ACP route is planned for Union Hill, a historic, predominantly African American community that was founded by freed slaves in Buckingham County.

“Water is life. The construction of these pipelines poses a threat to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who live near proposed constructions sites,” said LCDC Chair Alfonso Nevarez, “The Department of Environmental Quality needs to do a stream-by-stream analysis of all water crossing that would be impacted by these proposed pipelines before further work is authorized. I am confident that Virginia’s Democratic elected officials will make prudent decisions that will protect human and property rights for our brothers and sisters across the Commonwealth.”

LCDC accompanied their press release with excellent supplemental information covering:

  • Denial of Access to Water and Food for the tree sitters
  • Social Justice in Union Hill, Buckingham County
  • Inappropriate use of Eminent Domain
  • Widespread opposition from environmental organizations
  • Unacceptable level of environmental damage
  • Fracking is harmful to human health
  • Unacceptable response to climate change, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Additional natural gas infrastructure not needed
  • Erosion of public trust in regulatory institutions
  • These pipelines could very well kill someone
  • A listing of Material / References

On April 29, 2018, the Arlington County Democratic Committee issued a statement saying in part:

While Arlington might not suffer direct impacts, we all will be required to pay a large portion of the estimated $10 billion in pipeline costs which the builders will pass on to consumers in the form of increased utility rates. In addition, this massive new investment in decades-long infrastructure will retard the needed growth of truly clean sources of energy from which everyone in Arlington would benefit.

We join our elected officials in urging Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam and the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a full, on the ground stream-by-stream analysis of the water impacts of the two pipelines and to complete this review before any construction proceeds. And we insist that peaceful protesters be treated humanely and provided with nutritious food and water. ….

You can help deliver this message in two ways.

  • Call Governor Northam at (804) 786-2211. Tell him you #StandWithRed and ask him to order law enforcement to give food and necessities to the tree sitters. Urge him to order the Department of Environmental Quality to use its full authority under the Clean Water Act to conduct a detailed, stream-by-stream analysis of each water crossing.
  • Call the Department of Environmental Quality at (804) 698-4000. Tell them to halt pipeline construction and conduct a thorough stream-by-stream review to ensure our lands and waters are protected.

ACP Impact Statements from Union Hill

Atlantic Coast Pipeline impact statements from members of the Union Hill community in Buckingham County. Dominion wants to put the sole Virginia ACP compressor station in the heart of this small historically Black community founded by descendants of freed slaves. Local residents see the pipeline company’s disregard for their community as part of an established history of environmental racism in Virginia.

Workshop: Native Plant Identification and Rescue

Please join Blackberry Botanicals for a Native Plant Identification Workshop and Plant Rescue Training on Thursday April 12, 2018 from 6pm – 8:30pm, in the Rockfish Lounge at Rockfish Valley Community Center
. This training session is for Landowners and Volunteers who would like to volunteer to rescue and transplant our native medicinal plant heritage. FREE and open to the public. Donations are accepted and appreciated.

Blackberry Botanicals (BB) in conjunction with United Plant Savers is in the process of coordinating several plant rescue operations due to the destruction imminent in the path of several fracked gas pipelines that are coming through West Virginia and Virginia. The Appalachian mountains are home to over 500 verified varieties of medicinal plants many of which grow nowhere else in the world. BB is preserving these plants, and preserving the rich and varied medicinal heritage of our Appalachian region.

The land clearing proposals and current practices observed during pipeline construction will negatively impact forest and wetland medicinals. This is a critical time to preserve these plants, many of which will not survive if the controlled environment in which they flourish is damaged. Blackberry Botanicals (BB), along with a crew of dedicated volunteers, are digging and replanting medicinals with growers who are actively participating in managed forestland plantings with verifiable practices of conservation.

Following the April 12 informational meeting and training session, BB will schedule several days to visit Nelson County in May 2018 to meet with interested landowners, to walk the proposed pipeline route on landowner property, and identify and mark native medicinal plants on the property. BB will return in June 2018 for several scheduled volunteer dig days. During these digs, native medicinal plants will be carefully and sustainably harvested from their current location, and either planted on the landowners property outside of the proposed pipeline route, or will be safely transplanted to another local plant sanctuary or to the United Plant Savers Sanctuary in Ohio.

If you are a landowner or a potential volunteer in Nelson County and are interested in learning more, please contact Sara Agelasto at If you would like to contact Blackberry Botanicals directly, please email or call Beth at 304-923-3716.  (Blackberry Botanicals will have information at the Friends of Nelson Public Meeting on April 11 at RVCC.)

From the ABRA Update: ACP in Highland County

ABRA Update #174 for March 29, 2018, highlights the excellent reporting of The Recorder on Dominion’s efforts to ram the ACP through the problematic terrain of Highland County:

    • Pipeline, comp plan at issue tonight – The Recorder – 3/28/18.  Highland County tonight will stage its first effort to give citizens a local face-to-face encounter with Dominion over the $6.5 billion interstate gas pipeline project, rife with delays and setbacks, and how it could affect the county’s future.
    • Valley Center is central proof ACP must move – The Recorder – 3/28/18.  In all the hundreds of thousands of confusing bits of information pushed from Dominion to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Valley Center gets consistently and, might we offer, intentionally, overlooked.
    • But wait, there’s more … – The Recorder – 3/28/18.  Need more evidence Dominion’s pipeline will cause irreparable damage?

Environmental Justice in Buckingham County

A March 25, 2018, article in the Atlanta Black Herald discusses How a Historically Black Virginia Community is Taking On a Pipeline and Rebuking the Gospel of Fossil Fuels.

“God wants to build a pipeline. More specifically, he wants the Koch brothers, the controversial right-wing billionaires and petrochemical moguls, to shepherd this divine intervention of natural gas along a 600-mile path from West Virginia to North Carolina, cutting through rural Buckingham County, Virginia, south of Richmond. This was the largely veiled message behind a well-attended December 2016 gospel event held at a community center in Richmond’s East Highland Park neighborhood where hundreds of mostly African-American area residents praised the skies above while celebrity musical acts commanded the stage.

“Unbeknownst to many attendees, the mission of the event itself was anything but holy. Part of a well-funded propaganda campaign, the concert was sponsored by Fueling US Forward, a fossil fuel advocacy group supported by Koch Industries, and included an intermission panel with industry lobbyists promoting an increased reliance on fossil fuels and such giveaways as the paying-off of attendees’ power bills….

“But some area residents know a false prophet when they see one. ‘We’re dealing with environmental injustice because here in the Union Hill communities it’s predominantly Black,’ said John Laury, a native of Buckingham who raises cattle on his scenic 98-acre farm. ‘They anticipated choosing us here in a predominantly Black area because they anticipated the least resistance. But they have received more resistance than they had anticipated.'”

As a bonus, listen to John and Ruby Laury, living in the compressor station target zone in Buckingham County, speak on environmental justice.

Read the full article here. Another article on the same topic is here.

The Koch Brothers vs. God

According to the March 14, 2018, cover story in Grist, The Koch Brothers vs. God, the fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back.

“Rev. Paul Wilson fastens enough buttons on his jacket to stay warm on a chilly fall afternoon but still keep his clergy collar visible. He’s whipping up a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Richmond, Virginia, where they’re waiting to make a short march from Richmond’s Capitol Square Bell Tower to the nearby National Theatre. His eyes covered by sunglasses, and his head by a newsboy hat, Wilson speaks to the assembled about their Christian responsibility to protect the planet. …. The pipeline’s proposed route runs directly between Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist churches, the two parishes where Wilson serves as pastor in rural Buckingham County, 70 miles south of Richmond. The proposed site for the pipeline’s 54,000-horsepower, gas-fired compressor station is also set to be built right between them. Wilson fears the station could put his congregation and the surrounding community at risk of a range of ailments, especially asthma, because those living near natural gas facilities often suffer from chronic respiratory problems. …. [I]n response to the Koch brothers’ attempt to sway their flocks, Wilson and others affiliated with black churches in Virginia have channeled their outrage into a new calling: climate advocacy. For Wilson, environmentalism has become a biblical mission. ‘The climate is changing,’ he says. ‘And it’s black folk in Virginia who will lose the most.'”

Rev. Wilson and Rev. Faith Harris discuss the ways in which Koch-brother-funded groups like Fueling U.S. Forward work to convince poor and minority communities that increases in cheap fossil fuels make good economic sense, using what Rev. Harris calls a “purposeful misinformation” campaign.

Antonio Branch, a community organizer with Richmond-based Virginia Civic Engagement Table, “considers the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline ‘part of a larger environmental attack’ on minority communities in Virginia and neighboring North Carolina, two states on planned pipeline route. Many of the region’s proposed oil and gas projects sit near poor and rural areas. In Virginia’s Buckingham County, home to Rev. Wilson’s churches, the community closest to that facility is 85 percent African American. By contrast, the state’s overall black population is 19 percent. ‘This isn’t a coincidence,’ Branch says.”

Kiquanda Baker, the Hampton Roads organizer for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says, “Our role as community leaders is to show that all of these issues are connected…The more aware we are of environmental injustices, the less likely our communities can be tricked into rallies by the Koch brothers.”

Read the full article here.