Virginians unite in rally opposing fracked gas pipelines

sierra club virginiaMore than 100 Northern Virginians attended an upbeat, empowering rally on Friday opposing the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Groups hosting the rally and speakers expressed concern the pipelines will damage drinking water, natural lands and infringe on property rights.

This action called on those in attendance to take action to protect Virginia’s clean water and express opposition to fossil fuels projects like fracked-gas pipelines. This action comes after months of intensifying disappointment in the State Water Control Board. There will be a hearing on September 11 on a air quality permit for a compressor station in Buckingham. Speakers from the Union Hill community have been expressing concern for public safety and environmental justice and are asking the Virginia DEQ will deny the permits.

“We need your help, NoVa, as we battle these pipelines down here in the rural parts of Virginia. They are not needed and they will and are causing endless suffering for all in their pathway. It will be your air and your water which will be lost as we all suffer the repercussions of fossil fuel infrastructure. Our energy systems should not be sacrificing life over profit,” aid Chad Oba, Dilwyn resident and pipeline opponent who spoke at the rally along with Ella Rose and Lakshmi Fjord

Speakers included Karenna Gore, Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary; Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), delegate representing the City of Roanoke; David Sligh, Conservation Director at Wild Virginia; Alice Redhead, 100% Clean Energy Community Outreach Coordinator at the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter ; Jonathan Sokolow, Activist, attorney and small business owner, Emily Satterwhite, Red Terry, Union Hill residents Chad Oba, Ella Rose and Lakshmi Fjord, and Energy and Environmental attorney Montina Shraddha Cole. Local musicians Lobo Marino and M4TR performed at the event.

“Thousands of Virginians took time to submit comments and showed up to speak to our Department of Environmental Quality with concerns that pipelines will impact their community or their drinking water. The Department of Environmental Quality and the state water board should stop work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline while they take the time to read over the more than 11-thousand comments and consider the need for a steam by stream analysis and ensure safe water for recreation and public health.” said Delegate Sam Rasoul, House of Representatives.

The rally was part of a global effort, with hundreds of actions, and eight in Virginia, taking place under the banner of Rise for Climate to highlight increasing climate impacts and the need for immediate, real climate leadership. Rise for Climate will set the tone for a series of upcoming political moments and challenge decision-makers heading into a series of major summits to embrace the reality of the climate crisis and step up their actions to tackle it.

Globally, people are calling on decision-makers at all levels to provide deeper commitments and accelerate their actions.

“Today, people across the country are rising up for climate, jobs, and justice in their communities to fight back against Trump’s toxic agenda and to send a message to every politician that the time for action is now. Families living in the shadows of coal plants and oil refineries, losing homes and livelihoods to wildfires and extreme weather, and struggling to make a living wage are coming together because we know we don’t have time to waste. That’s why we’re rising with environmental justice leaders, labor unions, and partners and allies from Miami to San Francisco to Chicago to Big Stone Gap, Virginia and Laramie, Wyoming so we will be heard loud and clear now, in November, and in the months and years to come. We will take every opportunity to rise up together, united against Trump’s hate and fight for a 100% clean energy economy that leaves no one behind.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

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