Virginia faith leaders oppose fracked-gas pipelines

Faith leaders from Virginia’s Hampton Roads region released a letter opposing the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines for fracked gas on Thursday.

virginiaThe letter release followed an interdisciplinary prayer breakfast in Norfolk, where leaders of local parishes, mosques, churches, temples, and worship centers spoke on the spiritual morality that calls them to stand up for our climate. During the event, the faith leaders learned about the dangers of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, which are proposed to cross Virginia and would trigger massive climate pollution equivalent to 46 new coal-fired power plants.

The letter, signed by 29 faith leaders and members of the religious community, likened the environmental impacts of the pipeline to “attacks on the health and human rights of the people who live in their paths,” which is “contrary to the teachings of all of our religions.” They stated: “[W]e cannot allow a creation as amazing as our earth to be devastated by irresponsible and unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure any longer.”

“Pope Francis wrote in his Encyclical Letter that we have to ‘integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment,’” said Sister Margaret McCabe, Daughter of Wisdom. “The Pope’s message of justice and compassion places on us the moral imperative to work with others for workable solutions to repair and sustain our common home.”

Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline and EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline would together lay nearly 1,000 miles of 42-inch diameter pipe throughout the Commonwealth, threatening hundreds of waterways and putting the health of some of our most vulnerable communities at risk.

“Man’s greed has seriously damaged the earth’s ability to sustain God’s creation on Earth,” said Rev. John Myers, President of Virginia Council of Churches. “The United States in partnership with the global community must take active and aggressive steps to ensure clean air and seas so that all people have clean drinking water. It’s not a privilege. It’s a right.”

Faith leaders represented many denominations, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Unitarianism. They stated in the letter: “We recognize the duty that we all have as people of faith to be stewards of our environment for the next generation of humankind that will inherit this Commonwealth and this planet.”

“In the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, we need to provide hope to each other,” said Teresa Stanley, organizer with the Interspiritual Empowerment Project. “We need each other as we commit to doing our part in the local and global struggle to address climate change and creating a sustainable environment for us all.”

The event was coordinated by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Interspiritual Empowerment Project. Visit CCAN for more details on our No Pipelines Campaign.

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