Category Archives: Videos

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.

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!

SUN SiNG Review


“To the River”, a new no pipeline anthem written by Joshua Vana and arranged, performed and filmed by the SUN SiNG collective, premiered at the SUN SiNG Concert: April 26, 2019.

There was no studio time in the creation of this video. “To the River” was recorded and filmed along the MVP & ACP fracked gas pipeline routes in areas of devastation using the Sun Bus. The Sun Bus is a cargo van with a concert level sound and recording system within it that is powered by the solar panels mounted to its roof. The Sun Bus was designed and custom built by SUN SING executive producer, Graham Smith-White.

The SUN SiNG project had these goals: 1) lift up the pipeline resistance and future lovin’ hearts of those long fighting the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines with a magical theatrical concert 2) tell the story of these corrupt robberies to the newcomer 3) create a new no pipeline anthem and song video for the work and messaging ahead for all pipeline fights everywhere 4) strengthen our ability to respond as a state and as a region to this serious threat 5) create a yes for the #SolaRevolution to come 6) have the SUN SiNG collective create trust, ensemble and an entire body of no pipeline music and art 7) empower new artists for ARTivism Virginia and 8) raise money to support Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice and the work ahead.

Thanks to all who made this possible. There were 60 volunteers in and in front of that theater on April 26 and every single one of them was generous, talented and essential. Together everyone joined joy with concern, and you are invited to do the same.

For “Who Will Sing for Me?” video portraits of each member of the SUN SiNG collective and a you tube link for this video go to ARTivism Virginia on you tube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgOuscF5Bp8pMXD89KF68Qg/videos

Here’s just a glimpse of the power and magic brought to the SUN SiNG Concert: April 26 by ALL THE SAINTS THEATER COMPANY under the direction and with the creations of Lily Lamberta, SUN SiNG collective member. And this was just inside!

Videos and Slides from Spruce Creek Workshop

On behalf of Friends of Nelson and Jill and Richard Averitt, we thank those of you who spent your day with us at Spruce Creek in Nelson County a few weekends ago. We had an amazing time hearing from all of our speakers, connecting with old friends and making new ones, and enjoying the transition into this beautiful spring season.

Several speakers had slide presentations that they were not able to show (in the bright sunlight), and they have graciously shared them here:

Bill Limpert‘s presentation included:

  • Pipelines and Safety: Coatings and Geohazards
  • Bill’s letter to Virginia’s Department of Health and to the Department of Environmental Quality on possible public health impacts from the 3M Skotchkote Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE) used to coat the pipes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)
  • Letter to FERC by Tina L. Smusz, MD, endorsing pipeline coating concerns

Lakshmi Fjord‘s presentation included:

  • Slides on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Map of Injustice
  • A four minute video with Primilla Malik of Protect Orange County in Minisink NY, where in 2012 FERC approved a large compressor station, built near many homes, as part of a natural gas pipeline project. Since then many residents have been “Home Sick with Toxic Emissions”

Tom Hadwin‘s Slides on the economic need (actually, the lack thereof!) for the ACP, and the other available options.

Thanks to Chris Tandy from 350 Loudoun, we now have a YouTube link to the video of each speaker. If you couldn’t make it or just want to hear all the speakers again all six are available for watching here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4OGrXDDKsSF7RF3funcKiA

Please consider spreading the news by sending links to one of your favorites to friends and family. Again, thank you for participating in the gathering and making it a real success.

Together we are stronger!

Report on Spruce Creek Workshop

Tom Hadwin speaks at Spruce Creek Workshop. Photo by Kathy Versluys

On Saturday April 13, 2019, Friends of Nelson held a day long workshop at Spruce Creek Camp featuring six speakers, a tour of the proposed route across the Blue Ridge Mountains, and hands-on exercises on safe participation in a protest action. The event ended with songs and dancing.

The purpose of the workshop was to inform activists on the current status of our opposition and to plan our future efforts. Speakers were:

  • Richard Averitt, a local Nelson County landowner, who forcefully outlined what he and his family have had to go through in dealing with eminent domain and “quick take” attempts to seize their property. The present legal framework and particularly the Sage v. East Tennessee case, are structured to deny him and all resisting landowners ‘due process’, a fundamental right enshrined in the US Constitution.
  • William Limpert, a landowner from Bath County, spoke about his research into coatings applied to gas pipelines to prevent corrosion. His preliminary findings indicate that long term storage of pipes in the sun breaks down the coating, which could lead to pipe corrosion and eventual catastrophic pipeline failure. He also voiced concern about the toxic properties of the coatings themselves. If the coating flakes off due to long term outdoor storage, these ‘flakes’ could end up in the water supply, especially when the pipe is laid in ground with porous Karst deposits. Karst is found along the proposed pipeline route in Highland, Bath and Augusta counties. Twenty thousand pipes on top of storage stacks have been exposed to sun for four years now, far exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended two year limit.
  • Lakshmi Fjord, an anthropologist from Buckingham County, described Dominion Transmission’s persistent use of misleading demographic information to the Buckingham Board of Supervisors and in their Environmental Impact Statement, allowing the location of the highly dangerous and air-polluting compressor station right in the midst of a historically significant African American Community at Union Hill. Dr. Fjord and her team spent countless hours doing their own research to prove that the siting of the station was based on faulty assumptions that resulted in unnecessary harmful impacts. The scholarly research has been ignored by Dominion, the VA Department of the Environmental Quality, and the VA Air Pollution Control Board, and is now the basis for a suit brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC).
  • Rick Cornelius, an experienced environmental lawyer, updated the group on the numerous legal challenges to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. While some of these cases have been unsuccessful, several rulings have stopped the ACP project in its tracks, and other ongoing cases hold the promise for further delay. Mr. Cornelius appeared more optimistic about the ultimate outcome than he did in his previous presentation to the Friends of Nelson group last September.
  • Jennifer Lewis, a founder of Friends of Augusta, described the how Karst deposits in Augusta County create frequent sinkholes. Currently there are three such holes in her neighborhood and it is not uncommon for sinkholes to swallow grazing cattle, tractors and other farm equipment. These ground disturbances could potentially rupture a gas pipeline, creating an explosion and/or pollute nearby or distant groundwater. Ms. Lewis then advocated for citizen involvement as a way to stop this ill-conceived project, urging the audience to join local boards and commissions. She also suggested that each person speak to five friends, associates, and/or family members about why they oppose the ACP.
  • Tom Hadwin, a retired gas executive and an outspoken authority on energy and gas pipelines, made a strong presentation on why the energy needs of Virginia and North Carolina are better met by utilizing existing pipelines rather than building new ones, by practicing energy conservation, and by building alternative energy sources. He pointed out the demand for electric power and natural gas is actually flat or slowly increasing contrary to Dominion’s misleading growth projections outlined in their EIS submission. He described the economic incentives utilities have in building new pipelines, power plants, and even solar farms, and why their concern is for increasing profits for their stockholders and investors rather than for their ratepayer customers. He emphasized that the subsidiary entity that builds and transports the gas does not own or the sell the gas. Similarly, Amazon, which now has a subsidiary that transports the Amazon packages by airplane, competes with traditional shippers such as FedEx and UPS. It costs more to ship gas in new pipelines than existing ones, but the ratepayers have to pay the higher price because of the contracts signed by these entities. Although the original arguments for building the ACP were the supposed need for additional gas, that the gas would be cheaper, and that the project would create thousands of jobs, none of these three things are true today. The previous expansion of existing pipelines already in the ground exceeds the capacity of the proposed ACP and MVP pipelines combined. New pipelines cost more to ship gas than existing ones, and jobs aren’t created because an existing labor force of skilled pipeline workers travels from state to state, working on one construction project for eight months, then going on to another.

The workshop ended with a call to action and a handout with detailed steps for ways informed citizens could express their opposition and fight against the ACP. Of particular concern is stopping Congress from passing a law which circumvents the courts and allows the present proposed route to cross the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson County.

Breaking Through News reporter Elaine Rackley was at the event and spoke organizers and guest speakers:

SUN SiNG: April 26, 2019

Meet the SUN SiNG Collective, working now to create a new no pipeline anthem and song video and a theatrical concert evening to lift up our resistance and future lovin’ souls. 6 pm, Friday, April 26, 2019, at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VA. Get your tickets now! http://jeffersontheater.shop.ticketstoday.com/basket.aspx?Action=AddTickets&eventId=191206

Singing Yes! to the Solar Revolution is saying no to new fossil fuel infrastructure. Join Water is life. Protect it. and ARTivism Virginia for an evening of beauty and hope and for the premiere of “To the River”, a new anthem and song video to stop the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines. Sing out Yes! to a sustainable future for our children, our environment and our democracy.

The Sun Sing Collective is a group ARTivists gathering now to collaborate on original music, video, art and puppetry to tell the story of the MVP & ACP and to stop their destruction.

The Sun Sing Collective is:

  • Executive Producer & Music Director: Graham Smith White
  • Producer & Artistic Director of Video, Ritual & Marketing: Kay Leigh Ferguson
  • Puppetry & Set Design: Lily Lamberta
  • Videography: Sarah Hazlegrove
  • Wild Life Illustration/Logo Design: Virginia Greene
  • Sound Engineering: Carolyn Malachi
  • Social Media Marketing: Alexandra Dickinson
  • Musicians/Songwriters: Lilly Bird Bechtel, Bernadette “BJ” Brown, Gabe Gavin, Camry Harris, Laney Sullivan, Emily Blankenship Tucker, Joshua Vana
  • Fiscal Sponsorship: Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice