Category Archives: Videos

Standing Like a Tree

“Standing Like a Tree”: @Lobo Marino makes a call to action. The emotionally powerful new video shows what the ACP could destroy.

Consider visiting Miracle Ridge and Oona before September 8 to witness what is at stake. Details here:

“Standing Like a Tree” was filmed at Miracle Ridge, a Virginia mountain old growth forest slated for execution by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Co-produced, arranged and performed by indie folk band Lobo Marino. From their Richmond, Virginia home base, Lobo Marino’s Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price have toured nationally for six years and produced seven records. Mystically political and whole heartily grassroots, this DIY band plays on large festival stages and the backyard fire pits of intentional communities across the country. Their music, built primarily around harmonium, Price’s elegantly simple full body percussion and Sullivan’s deep root vocals, carries the message of humanity’s need to find balance with nature.

“Standing Like a Tree” is based on an original 1987 song and lyrics by activist Betsy Rose who gave permission to use the piece to once again raise awareness of what must be protected. The film features Ona, a 300 year old silver maple at the center of the steep slope Miracle Ridge which the pipeline would destroy, land stewards Bill and Lynn Limpert, and snapshots of the legal and direct action resistance to the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines.

Video was shot and edited by Chris Damon and Kate Rivara of Richmond film collective “Good Day RVA”. Additional footage by @Aspen Miller with sound captured by Patrick Ball.

Virginia State Water Control Board Meeting Actions

At its meeting on Tuesday August 21, 2018, the Virginia State Water Control Board received a report from the Department of Environmental Quality regarding the recent Public Comment Period on the Adequacy of the US Army Corps of Engineers NWP 12 Review of Stream Crossings for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Although earlier reports indicated attendees would not be allowed to speak, the Board did allow 30 minutes of public comment from selected individuals – following the 2 hour presentation from DEQ in which, as noted by Chesapeake Climate Action Network, “The Department of Environmental Quality, headed by the controversial David Paylor, continued to strongly recommend that the board allow pipeline construction to proceed, despite mounting evidence that MVP and ACP have already harmed water quality.”  Many commenters urged the Board to take strong action in light of the problems unveiled by the public comments that were filed.   David Sligh, Conservation Director for Wild Virginia, told Board members, “The fact is that the Corps of Engineers’ permitting decision is not based on water quality standards. They explicitly say over and over that that is not their job, that’s the job of the states. . . For DEQ to tell you that they don’t intend to enforce certain parts of your water quality standards is atrocious and you should not accept that.”

Rather than taking any strong action on its own, the Board chose instead to adopt a motion calling for the DEQ “to aggressively enforce” the Erosion & Sediment and the Stormwater requirements for the ACP and the MVP.

It is not clear yet what effect the Board’s resolution will have.

The full text of the motion adopted by the Water Board follows:

The Board has reviewed the public comment received during the comment period, has heard the staff’s evaluation of the public comments and the sufficiency of the Nationwide Permit 12 to protect stream crossings impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Board has also heard the staff’s report on the status of both projects regarding public complaints, compliance and enforcement and have considered advice of counsel as to the Board’s jurisdiction and authority.

Based on the foregoing considerations, the Board directs DEQ staff:

  1. to share relevant information from the public comment period with the Corps of Engineers for their consideration in administering and enforcing Nationwide Permit 12 to ensure protection of state waters;
  2. to continue aggressive compliance, inspection and enforcement activities to the maximum extent of its authority, and to include incorporation of erosion and sediment measures required by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy where they are relevant and to the extent that they are more stringent; and
  3. to respond promptly and effectively to verified public complaints of violations.

Staff reports presented to the SWCB are here.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch report of the meeting says, “The water board narrowly defeated, 4-3, a motion to modify or revoke the state’s certification of a nationwide permit to oversee more than 1,000 water crossings by the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, but agreed unanimously to require more rigorous enforcement of state standards to protect water quality. …. The water board’s action still dismayed a capacity crowd of pipeline opponents who expressed their distrust of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality throughout a tense, nearly four-hour meeting that they interrupted repeatedly to challenge statements by regulatory staff. …. But some water board members appeared skeptical of the state’s ability to protect water quality from sedimentation, after Melanie Davenport, DEQ’s director of water quality permitting, said the state does not have a way to measure or enforce sediment limits in waterways. ‘That’s really not reasonable assurance we are protecting the water quality,’ said Roberta A. Kellam, a board member from the Eastern Shore. Kellam joined two other members of the seven-member board in supporting an unsuccessful motion to hold a formal hearing on whether to revoke or amend certification of the national permit, which gives regulatory oversight of stream crossings to the Army Corps of Engineers instead of the state.”

Read the statement from Chesapeake Climate Action Network, in which CCAN General Counsel Anne Havemann says, “Instead of requiring an individual review, the Board instead called on DEQ to conduct aggressive compliance efforts. While we are still reviewing the Board’s decision it appears to have no teeth, and could allow sediment to continue to be dumped into the water with impunity. In the midst of public outcry and ongoing harm to water quality, we cannot applaud a decision that merely requires the DEQ do the job it should have been doing all along.  Today is a shameful day for David Paylor’s Department of Environmental Quality, and a sad day for Virginians. But, the fight is not over. We will continue taking these pipelines to court. We are confident that the federal courts will continue to overturn the insufficient permits for these pipelines, and evidence will prove once and for all that these pipelines should never be built.”

Press release from Appalachian Voices.

Statement from POWHR Coalition.  Points out that “Several members of the Board — Roberta Kellam, Nissa Dean, and Robert Wayland — supported a motion to initiate the formal hearing process to consider amending or revoking the permits for the two pipelines. The motion lost on a 3-4 vote, with Southwest Virginia’s own representative, Lou-Ann Jessee Wallace, voting against the motion.”

Statement from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Greg Buppert said, “We have seen firsthand that pipeline construction in Virginia cannot be done without causing serious and permanent sedimentation problems to rivers and streams.  The people of the commonwealth deserve better than blanket assurances that everything will be OK when the facts on the ground show that they are not.”

Following are videos from the meeting.

From Appalachians Against Pipelines (1 hour 12 minutes):

From Appalachian Voices (3 hours 46 minutes):

Closing comments, from Marie Eve Robbins (58 minutes):

Richard Averitt’s reaction (1 minute 30 seconds)

Circle of Protection: The Air We Breathe

Filmed at the July Circle of Protection, “The Air We Breathe” calls out for urgent and immediate help to challenge and deny the air permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station between now and September 11, 2018. Without the compressor station, the ACP, a robbery of and threat to all Virginians, cannot be built. Featuring Reverend Ray McKenzie of the Gravel Hill Baptist Church, Interfaith Leader Kira Young, Caroline Bray and artists Emily Robey Morrison and the Yes Brothers, this small film invites you to Stand with Union Hill.

Farm Use Old Time String Band invites you to the August 26, 2018, Circle of Protection. Note new start time of 1:30 pm. This one hour Interfaith Prayer Vigil with story and song at Union Hill Baptist Church will feature music from Farm Use Old Time String Band, personal story from Emily Satterwhite and our potluck to follow from 2:30-3:30 will have a guest speaker from SELC Come again and bring new allies to Stand with Union Hill as they challenge the air permit for the proposed ACP Compressor Station. For more about how to help with this challenge, see Our Air Our Lives.

Q and A Session on the Air Permit Draft

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality held an information session in Buckingham on the air quality permit for the Union Hill compressor station on August 16, 2018. Friends of Buckingham reports that there were many good questions and the DEQ Air staff gave lots of good answers. But there are many issues that they weren’t able to address. In the briefing, when asked if it was correct that all but the most random and incidental compliance monitoring for the compressor station would be done by the corporation running it, DEQ representatives reluctantly said yes. When asked if the consequences for non compliance were stated in the draft air permit or were clearly stated anywhere, they said no.  Citizens continue to be concerned about safety issues around explosions, lack of an emergency plan, the need for a health study and risk assessment, whether the standards are really going to protect anyone, and whether the monitoring and compliance efforts will be strongly enforced. 

Before the meeting the community gathered with visitors from across the state for prayer, song, food and the blessing of Buckingham and Nelson County Virginia Water Flags Project flags. “We bless this water which sustains our lives with our faith and our intention to protect it. We bless this clean air which sustains our lives with our faith and our intention to protect it. We bless this community which makes our lives meaningful with our faith and our intention to protect it.”

The Buckingham Compressor Station (BCS) draft permit is the subject of a public comment period beginning August 8, 2018 and ending September 11, 2018. The comment period is specifically for the BCS draft air permit and does not pertain to issues outside the scope of the draft permit such as zoning, noise, traffic or safety.  Comments will only be accepted during the formal comment period. Comments received either before or after the advertised start and end dates) August 8-September 11, 2018) will not be part of the record and will not be considered.

Send your comments to DEQ!  See instructions in our August 2, 2018 post.