The following is an account posted on Facebook by Water Is Life. Protect It on July 26, 2018.
Stand with Union Hill: The story of stark environmental racism gains and needs new allies to be told, to be shouted from the mountain top. This week’s meeting [week of July 23, 2018] between Union Hill and Dominion/ACP brought new allies and a terrifying glimpse of a complete disregard for safety on the part of Dominion Energy.
One Buckingham County witness wrote of the photos here: “Reverend Kevin Chandler, President of the Virginia NAACP came to Union Hill to announce that the powerful civil rights organization has taken a position against the ACP pipeline and the proposed Union Hill compressor station.
The uneasy looking group of white men in the foreground of the next photo—those are Dominion executives. They and five others had come to a community meeting in Pastor Paul Wilson’s Union Hill Grove Baptist Church to try to reassure the African-American community that the compressor station and the pipeline would be safe and would not hurt them. However, they seemed increasingly anxious when they were asked to describe the size of the kill zone in the event of a pipeline leak or a compressor station disaster. They said they just couldn’t answer the question which they were asked in three different ways. They also were forced to admit that they hadn’t even drafted their emergency response plan in the event that something were to go wrong at the compressor station they want to build in within yards of the homes of Union Hill—an historic African-American Community.
Meanwhile, a US Justice Department official, Suzanne Buchanan of the federal community relations service (with Pastor Paul) showed up. She said she realized that the people of Union Hill were feeling frustrated and unheard. She watched with what appeared to be astonishment when the dominion executives were unable to describe the dimensions of the Kill zone.
If the people of Union Hill were skeptical and even frightened at the prospect of the compressor station and its pipeline coming to their community before tonight by the time the meeting was over they were much more wary.
Friends of Buckingham and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are excited to announce the date of our first Buckingham Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) drone monitoring training on Saturday, August 4, from 10:00am – 2:00pm at Union Hill Baptist Church.
The purpose of this training is to introduce volunteers to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to monitor construction and preconstruction activities of the fracked gas pipelines that threaten our communities.
Topics to be covered are as follows:
- Why use drones?
- Which drones can you use?
- Flying Safely: Do’s & Don’t’s
- Flying Legally: Rules of the air
- What and where to monitor?
- Taking useful photos and videos
- Advanced mapping missions
- Networking with your neighbors
The CSI will have two DJI Mavic Pro drones present for demonstration. If you own or have access to your own drone, please bring it with you!
This training will include an indoor classroom-style presentation in the church Lounge followed by a flight and mapping-mission demonstration in the soccer field outside. Lunch will be provided, so please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.
Important: It is our hope with this program to create a network of citizen aerial monitors across our region who can respond to and document construction non-compliance and environmental degradation at the hands of ACP and MVP developers. This training is not an end-all-be-all for how to fly, you’ll need to practice flying on your own to become proficient. If you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or distance, don’t fret, we plan on holding more of these trainings in the coming weeks and months in different communities along the proposed ACP route. We also plan to have a live-stream video of this training so stay tuned for updates on how to access that.
Space is limited to 50 people.
Please direct any questions or concerns to Ben Cunningham, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-882-1893.
Wednesday, August 1 at 5:30 PM – 7 PM, Seven Arrows Brewing Company, Waynesboro.
Time to celebrate the success of the fundraising campaign to bring the Defenders, a protest sculpture against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, to life! Join a celebratory gathering to officially kick-off this project. Hear from sculptor, Mark Schwenk, as he ceremoniously receives the check to start The Defenders sculpture. Meet some of the landowners who have volunteered to host the sculpture on their properties once complete. And listen to fine music as you enjoy Seven Arrows Brewing Company’s beer, food, and a special cake to mark the occasion!
More info here.
The biggest regional land-clearing project since the federal highway program of the 1960s is now underway in Virginia. In order to build the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, Dominion Energy and EQT are targeting vulnerable communities, destroying precious ecosystems, and threatening the livelihoods of Virginians far and wide.
Enough is enough! Visit Bath County this summer for a continuous peaceful and family-friendly encampment on the property of Bill and Lynn Limpert. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is slated to go right through their property, destroying hundreds of its jaw-dropping old growth trees, and decapitating an entire ridgeline known locally as “Miracle Ridge.” To participate, sign up here. For more information, check out a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Join the Sunday afternoon July 22, 2018, Circle of Protection, an interfaith prayer vigil, co-produced by Friends of Buckingham County, Virginia and Water is Life. Protect It, to protect Buckingham County (and all of us!) from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the proposed Union Hill ACP Compressor Station.
Featuring music by Emily Robey Morrison and the Yes Brothers, opening prayers by Reverends Ray McKenzie and Virginia Agee and by Interfaith leader, Kira Young, story by Caroline Bray of Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and more, lifting up for protection for the Union Hill community and Buckingham County against the very real threats of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the proposed Union Hill compressor station. Join in to lift our spirits, inform our minds, and choose our right actions. With potluck and guest speaker to follow. 1-3 pm.
The vigils are open air on the grounds of Union Hill Baptist Church, 1496 Union Hill Road (State Route 663), Buckingham, VA 23921. Indoor pot luck and speaker following in the church basement. The Circle of Protection is a collaboration of Friends of Buckingham, Union Hill/Grove Baptist Church, Yogaville, VSEC and Water is life. Protect it.
See Circle of Protection for more directions and more details. (You are advised to print out directions for the event before setting forth as reception can be vague to nonexistent in certain parts of the county.)
Stand with Union Hill: The Buckingham County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on Monday, July 9, 2018 to hear public input regarding a rezoning request to allow the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to install a “man camp” across from the proposed Union Hill compressor station.
Be there at 5 pm for peaceful witness at the meeting, which begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Peter Francisco Auditorium of the Buckingham County Administration Complex at 13380 W. James Anderson Hwy, Buckingham, Virginia 23921.
The Circle of Protection collaborators and Water is Life. Protect It. are asking for your presence and peaceful witness to this meeting and this proposal which represents a further violation of the zoning and comprehensive plan for Buckingham County.