In Virginia, the grassroots battle continues to ramp up against Dominion Resources’ proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline. This proposed 550-mile fracked gas pipeline would originate in Harrison County, West Virginia, cut southwest across Virginia to Greensville County and then head south to eastern North Carolina. A spur would also go into Chesapeake, Virginia.
People across Virginia are coming together to oppose this dirty fracked gas plan. CCAN is partnering with new and highly energized local groups that have formed along the route of the pipeline, including the Augusta County Alliance, Friends of Nelson County and the Allegheny Blue-Ridge Alliance. The Richmond Times-Dispatch documented this growing “mountain of opposition” to the pipeline in January. Together we are building power throughout the state to challenge Dominion’s pipeline and eminent domain laws that are letting Dominion trample over the rights of local landowners.
Here are the latest updates:
- In December, news broke that Dominion is suing over 40 landowners who have refused to let surveyors for the pipeline come onto their property.
- Landowners are fighting back. On February 5th, a federal judge heard arguments in a suit brought by landowners to challenge the constitutionality of a state law that gives natural gas companies the right to survey land over the owners’ objections.
- During the General Assembly session, landowners joined environmental advocates to rally against the pipeline at the State Capitol in Richmond. Unfortunately, legislators failed to advance a bill that would have revoked the 2004 law that Dominion is using to survey landowners’ property.
- In January, students with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition delivered over 170 handwritten letters to Governor McAuliffe’s offices in Richmond, calling on him to renounce his support for the pipeline.
Pipeline fighters have also launched local canvasses to inform residents along the route of the pipeline of the risks involved, and are pushing back against Dominion’s overblown claims about the project’s benefits. Friends of Nelson County released a press statement on February 11th to counter a report released by Dominion about the benefits of the pipeline. Friends of Nelson president Joanna Salidis explains why pipeline opponents are developing their own “pipeline impact” study, to be released in May 2015:
The economy of Nelson County is based on tourism, agriculture, recreation and the scenic beauty of the Rockfish Valley. These and so much more are threatened by the proposed pipeline. It makes me sick to my stomach to hear Dominion crow about economic benefits when the truth is their pipeline is nothing more than the large scale transfer of wealth from counties like ours on the route to their shareholders’ pockets. Our Pipeline Impact Study will give us numbers of our own.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline isn’t the only new natural gas pipeline proposed in Virginia. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is another proposed fracked gas pipeline in the development phase. Residents along the route of the MVP are rallying in Blacksburg on Saturday, March 21st in opposition.
How can you take action?
CCAN is collecting petitions to urge Governor McAuliffe to withdraw his support of the Atlantic Coast pipeline. We need your help! We need Governor McAuliffe to know that Virginians don’t want dangerous new natural gas pipelines criss-crossing our forests and farmlands, and taking us backward in fighting global warming. Working with groups along the proposed route of the pipeline, we’ve collected over 2,500 petitions to the governor so far. Our goal is to collect 5,000 before we deliver them right to his office in April. Click here to sign up to collect petitions in your community, and I’ll follow up with you to give you the materials you need to take action.
CCAN and allied groups are meeting in Virginia in early March to plan the next phase of this campaign. Want to get involved? Email me at Lauren@chesapeakeclimate.org.