AS FERC ANNOUNCES FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENTS ON PIPELINES, RESISTANCE SWELLS

On Friday, June 23rd, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its final environmental review for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The highly-flawed Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) paints a false and misleading picture of this massive, dangerous fracked-gas pipeline.
The FEIS does not spell good news for pipeline opposition, but it is far from final approval. There are many stages left in the process at the federal, state, and legal levels — and there is a growing movement committed to stopping this pipeline, along with Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a pipeline of similar size and route. This growing resistance, alongside the shift in political narrative around these pipelines, show that the FEIS will only further the conviction and resolve of the growing anti-pipeline movement.
The Pipeline Pledge of Resistance is just one example of this conviction. The hundreds of people who have signed have pledged to engage in any tactic necessary to stop the ACP and MVP — including nonviolent civil disobedience and even risking arrest. To date, nearly 400 people have pledged to risk arrest to stop these pipelines. Plus, nearly 1,000 have pledged to engage in some form of support for those willing to participate in dignified civil disobedience to stop these radical infrastructure projects.
Those familiar with FERC’s history are not surprised by its shoddy environmental review. Since 1986, FERC has approved every proposal for a fracked-gas infrastructure projects that it has come across, with the exception of the Pacific Connector Pipeline and accompanying liquefied natural gas export terminal in 2016.1 Many of these projects have resulted in spills and even explosions. Furthermore, the agency has very strong ties to the very industry it is tasked with regulating. Since 2000, 12 of 15 former commissioners are “currently employed either directly or indirectly in the fossil fuel industry as executives, directors, partners, lobbyists, and/or consultants.”2
The opposition to the proposed fracked-gas pipelines is not just limited to those who have signed the Pledge. In recent months, the opposition has reached a fever pitch. Numerous groups and organizations have voiced their disapproval of the pipelines. In January, a letter signed on behalf of members of numerous indigenous tribes in the region denouncing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was released to the public.

30710794543_a58360f44f_hPhoto from Flickr user Joe Brusky with a Creative Commons license. 

In April, announcements that both of these pipelines would trigger miles of ridgetop removal shocked public conscience throughout the region, with various Appalachian Trail hiking groups and enthusiasts assembling in Richmond last month to call upon Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to use his authority to reject the projects.   
Finally, in May, a band of Virginia-based military veterans, representing every branch on the military, released an open letter to the Governor, linking the the MVP and the ACP to the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
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The broadening of the anti-pipeline movement in Virginia is indicative of a larger shift in the Commonwealth’s political culture. The contentious gubernatorial primaries this year in the state were dubbed a “referendum on pipelines”, with anti-pipeline candidates from both major parties winning districts along the proposed routes of these pipelines. Furthermore, over 50 Democratic candidates for Virginia’s House of Delegates have pledged to refuse money from Dominion Energy, the primary shareholder in the ACP and the largest contributor to political campaigns in Virginia.
Regardless of FERC’s announcement, the efforts to stop these pipelines in order to protect our land, water, communities, and climate will ultimately come from the massive grassroots movement. The movement has brought together folks from across Virginia from all walks of life with a common goal — and they are willing to put the their bodies on the line to achieve it.


1http://public-accountability.org/2017/02/oil-gas-industry-dominates-federal-agency-responsible-for-pipeline-approvals
2Ibid.

Baltimore City Council Adopts Resolution Upholding Paris Climate Agreement

The Baltimore City Council adopted a resolution at their June 19th meeting committing Baltimore to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. A youth-led rally in support of the resolution took place inside City Hall before the vote.

BALTIMORE — On June 19th, Baltimore youth, residents, local elected officials, and environmental advocates rallied inside City Hall in a strong showing of support for city-level climate action. Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced a resolution at the City Council meeting later that evening committing Baltimore to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement.

The rally featured several local leaders, including students with the advocacy group Baltimore Beyond Plastic, Councilman Zeke Cohen, and members of the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement, who spoke in support of the resolution. The resolution was co-sponsored by fourteen members of the City Council and was adopted immediately during Monday night’s meeting.

Claire Wayner, co-founder of Baltimore Beyond Plastic, said, “plastic pollution has a direct linkage to climate change from its manufacturing out of fossil fuels to its all-too-common disposal through trash incineration, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Our organization is committed to transmitting the youth voice to support positive climate action in Baltimore to indirectly reduce our reliance on plastics, and we hope our city will join the nationwide movement to stand behind the Paris Climate Agreement.”

“We applaud the efforts of the Baltimore City Council to address climate change, the greatest threat to our health and safety,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. “Climate change can lead to dangerous health conditions and preventable deaths for the most vulnerable Marylanders. Baltimoreans already experience extended allergy seasons, heat stress, heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases, as well as increases in the spread of vector borne illnesses like Lyme disease and the threat of the Zika virus. We can not afford to ignore short-sighted rollbacks or play partisan politics at the expense of health outcomes.”

Cortez Elliott, a member of the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement, said, “Glad to see Baltimore City moving ahead in the right direction towards a just, clean energy economy. This resolution is the first stepping stone to ensure the city is setting the standard for inclusiveness, equity, and energy efficiency by addressing the environmental injustices that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color in Baltimore. The resolution highlights the importance of making the world a better place for future generations by taking strong action to fight climate change.”

Background Information:

The United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement on June 1 sparked action from concerned citizens outraged by the implications for future Baltimoreans. Baltimore youth, Councilman Cohen, environmental health advocates, and a coalition of groups that make up the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement, united to reject this reckless decision and abdication of leadership. In the absence of federal action, cities like Baltimore must step up.

Councilman Zeke Cohen, the Maryland Environmental Health Network, and over fifteen partners collaborated on the resolution. The aims of the resolution are to recognize the significance of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, oppose the U.S.’s withdrawal from it, and commit Baltimore City to specific practices that will work to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The resolution pledges to uphold practices that foster “a liveable, economical, equitable, and just energy future for all Baltimoreans regardless of age, race, income, or zip code.” The resolution can be viewed here.

More information can be found on Facebook at Baltimore Beyond Plastic, Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement , and by searching the hashtags #BmoreClimateJust and #WeAreStillIn.


CONTACT:

Allison Rich, Maryland Environmental Health Network: arich@mdehn.org; (786) 897-6689

Rebecca Mark, Maryland Working Families; rmark@workingfamilies.org; (347) 224-1860

Taylor Smith-Hams, CCAN: taylor@chesapeakeclimate.org; (650) 704-3208

Baltimore Residents Call for Action on Oil Trains, Commemorate 1-Year Anniversary of Train Derailment

One year after a train carrying acetone derailed in the Howard Street Tunnel, advocates called on the City Council to take steps to protect public health and safety from trains carrying explosive crude oil through the city.

BALTIMORE — Today, residents of Baltimore’s crude oil train blast zone, MICA staff and faculty, elected officials, and labor and environmental advocates rallied to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of a train derailment in the Howard Street Tunnel and discussed the public health and safety threats posed to Baltimoreans by dangerous crude oil trains.
During a rally in Frost Plaza on Tuesday June 13, speakers recalled last year’s dangerous 13-car derailment, which carried highly flammable substances including acetone and natural gas and took over 24 hours to clear. The speakers renewed demands from community members, local activists, and environmental organizations for the City Council to take steps to protect the public from trains carrying hazardous cargo such as crude oil through Baltimore.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, representative of Baltimore’s District 14, said: “Crude oil transport through Baltimore is a dangerous venture. At the least, our residents require State and local coordination to secure better notice of such transport, more secure carriers than now employed, and a concerted plan of prevention and response to potential accidents.”
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Councilwoman Clarke speaks to the crowd.
Valeska Populoh, a faculty member at MICA, reflected on last year’s derailment: “The incident has raised my concerns about the transport of hazardous materials on these rail lines so close to our campus and the surrounding community, the potential threats to health and safety that these pose, as well as the potential for disruption of traffic and daily life in this central part of Baltimore in the event of another derailment.”
David McClure, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, said: “Each day our 2,500 MTA workers transport the people of Baltimore to work, school, the doctor, or wherever they need to go. And our riders’ safety is our number one priority. I repeat, it’s our number one priority. And now it’s time for the City Council to put the safety and health of the people first. It’s time to put a stop these trains from carrying dangerous crude oil and other hazardous cargo travelling through these densely-populated neighborhoods before we have a disaster on our hands.”
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ATU Local 1300 President David McClure addressing the crowd.
During the rally, activists held a large replica “oil train” that read “Stop Oil Trains,” hand-painted signs of fire and explosions, and a map of Baltimore’s oil train “blast zone” in front of the site of last year’s derailment.
The press conference came a few days after members of the Baltimore City Council and Maryland General Assembly toured South Baltimore neighborhoods that are threatened by crude oil train traffic. On Friday, June 9th, community leaders concerned about the potential for a catastrophic explosion led the elected officials on a tour of Mt Winans, Westport, and Curtis Bay and saw some of the most vulnerable points in Baltimore’s infrastructure for a derailment and explosion.
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Elected officials and staff members from the Baltimore City Council and Maryland General Assembly toured the oil train blast zone on Friday, June 9th, 2017. This photo was taken at the southern end of the Howard St Tunnel, 1.5 miles from site of last year’s derailment at the northern end of the tunnel. Photo credit: Clean Water Action.
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Tour participants travel over an at-grade crossing in Fairfield in South Baltimore. At-grade crossings have been identified by rail companies as some of the most dangerous points of rail infrastructure.
Background: Transport of crude oil by rail has skyrocketed in the midst of the U.S.’s fracking boom in the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota and in tar sands extraction in Canada, and a string of derailments has followed. The worst incident occurred when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013, killing 47 people and leveling the town.
165,000 Baltimoreans live in the oil train “blast zone” – the area that could be directly impacted if a train were to derail and explode in the city. There have been many close calls in Baltimore, including last year’s derailment of 13 train cars in the Howard Street Tunnel. And just a few months ago, a fire broke out in a scrap yard across the street from the crude oil shipping terminal in Fairfield in South Baltimore.
Concerned residents and local advocates are calling on members of the Baltimore City Council to take action to protect Baltimoreans from this unnecessary public health and safety risk.


CONTACT:

Jennifer Kunze; Clean Water Action; jkunze@cleanwater.org; 240-397-4126 
Taylor Smith-Hams; CCAN; taylor@chesapeakeclimate.org; 650-704-3208

 
Photo at the top from Flickr user Bill Kalkman with a Creative Commons license. 

VIDEO: Why these D.C. residents are working to put a price on carbon

Our hot new campaign video has officially kicked off summer in the District! We spoke to four D.C. residents to explain why they want the city to put a price on carbon pollution.


 
It’s been over a week since Donald Trump’s reckless withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Thankfully, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser responded by affirming the city’s commitment to climate action. She pledged to reduce D.C.’s carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. Awesome!
Unfortunately, D.C. isn’t on track yet to meet its climate goals. With a comprehensive climate policy like the carbon fee and rebate, D.C. would be well on its way — and it would set an example for the entire nation.
If there there is one thing we’ve learned this week, it’s that we need real action. It’s more important than ever that states move forward on carbon reductions in a progressive and effective way. A comprehensive policy, like the proposed carbon fee and rebate, is the only way to reduce carbon emissions quickly and efficiently. And it’s what D.C. residents want: a full 74 percent of residents want to reduce carbon pollution in the District.

So what can you do? WATCH the new video, SHARE it with all your friends and family, and JOIN our campaign for a greener, cleaner, more equitable D.C.

Faith Leaders Release Letter Of Opposition To Atlantic Coast And Mountain Valley Pipelines

Attendees Will Reveal Sign-On Letter Of Opposition To Atlantic Coast And Mountain Valley Pipelines

Norfolk, VA – 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, June 8th. The 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.


CONTACT:

Denise Robbins, Communications Director; denise@chesapeakeclimate.org; (608)-620-8819

Harrison Wallace, Hampton Roads Coordinator; Harrison@chesapeakeclimate.org; (804) 305-1472

Photo at the top from Flickr user Virginia Department of Transportation with a Creative Commons license. 

The Climate Can’t Wait. March with Us 4/29

Just a few weeks ago, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency said carbon emissions don’t cause climate change — contradicting NASA and 97 percent of the world’s scientists. This is not normal.
The Trump administration has made it clear that it will do whatever it takes to dismantle climate protections and bury our voices.
But they do not realize this: We are seeds of the most dedicated and strongest kind. Since day one of Trump’s presidency, the most beautiful and resilient shows of resistance have continued to sprout up and grow across America. Mark my words: our resistance has just begun.
Join CCAN and our allies at the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice (People’s Climate March) in Washington, D.C. on April 29th. On the hundredth day of Trump’s presidency, we’ll continue to spread our roots of resistance as we come together across issues to march on our nation’s capital. 
In 2014, nearly half a million of us took to the streets of New York City in the most powerful climate march of our time.1 We helped propel the Paris Climate Accord forward and organized for many other local climate victories across the country.
Every victory we’ve worked for is under attack with this new administration — even victories that make clear economic sense, like energy efficiency programs and the rule to capture excess methane from drilling on public lands. It’s now up to all of us to show that we’re not going away.
When we take to the streets on April 29th, we’ll send the White House and Congress the clear message that we’re not backing down. We’ll continue to fight for our climate, our communities, and our shared future.
We’ll march not just to resist — but to rise above and defeat the threats that Trump continues to unravel. The sound of our feet clicking together will echo our powerful show of unity, and then we’ll bring our unmatched fervor and dedication back to our local communities.

We’ll march to show the Trump administration: We will never stop fighting.

The People’s Climate March will not end in the streets. We’ll carry the drumbeat forward, as we march into our representative’s offices to demand action on climate. As we march into meetings before our local board of supervisors to insist on protection from fossil fuel companies. As we march into our communities to inspire others and ignite the passion that will continue to drive our movement forward.
The threat of Trump’s administration is too big for any of us to take on alone.
That’s why you should join us on April 29 at the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.  Sign up HERE to wear down your marching shoes a bit further and stand with us.
I hope to see you there.
 

  1. Climate Change March to Descend on Washington in April.” January 2017. Inside Climate News.

CCAN praises landmark energy efficiency legislation

CCAN praises landmark energy efficiency legislation

Marylanders are expected to save $11.7 billion on energy bills over the next ten years with the passage of Senate Bill 184.

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Senate today gave approval to the strongest legislation in a decade designed to advance energy efficiency in the state. By a vote of 32-14, the chamber voted to pass Senate Bill 184. This bill would codify the “EmPOWER Maryland” program, ensuring that Maryland remains a national leader on energy efficiency in the electricity sector. The House passed a very similar version of this bill last week, meaning final legislation will likely be sent to Governor Hogan soon.

In July 2015, the Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order to strengthen the EmPOWER Maryland program, the state’s signature energy-efficiency program, by setting a 2 percent energy savings goal and updating the cost-effectiveness criteria. SB 184 would codify that order and ensure EmPOWER’s continued success in Maryland. The legislation would also make Maryland a top ten energy-efficiency state.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement:

“Today, the Maryland Senate voted to fight climate change, create jobs, and save energy dollars for state ratepayers. SB 184 will ensure that Maryland remains a top ten energy-efficiency state. The least expensive way to meet Maryland’s future energy demand is to use less energy. On a dollar-for-dollar basis, it costs less to save energy through energy efficiency than it does to generate that same amount of energy from any type of power plant. SB 184 is common sense legislation, and its passage will help Maryland transition to a clean energy economy.”

MORE BACKGROUND: The current “EmPOWER Maryland” program has saved over 51 million megawatt-hours of electricity, resulting in more than $4 billion in total customer bill savings over the life of the measures. That’s the equivalent of enough electricity to power 850,000 residential customers for five years. The program has also created more than 2,000 Maryland jobs, and a new study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that the program could create up to 68,000 new jobs in the state over the next 10 years.

With passage of SB 184, Maryland families and businesses are expected save $11.7 billion on their energy bills over the next ten years, and reduce the energy equivalent of closing 5 coal-fired plants over the next ten years, while cutting the carbon emissions of nearly 200,000 cars annually.

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 608-620-8819,
Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Frostburg Approves Fracking Ban Measures, Becoming the Largest Western Md. City to Protect Water from Toxic Drilling

Frostburg Approves Fracking Ban Measures, Becoming the Largest Western Md. City to Protect Water from Toxic Drilling
City Council approves measures to ban fracking on city-owned land near critical water supplies and to ban the sale of water for fracking
Frostburg, Md. — The city of Frostburg tonight became the largest municipality in western Maryland to take local action to ban fracking. The Frostburg City Council voted unanimously to approve two measures designed to protect local water supplies from the toxic drilling practice. The Garrett County towns of Friendsville and Mountain Lake Park have also banned fracking.
The first Frostburg measure bans fracking on city-owned land in neighboring Garrett County that supplies the drinking water of thousands of Allegany County citizens. The second measure bans bulk sales of water by the city for the purposes of fracking. Both measures will go into effect after 15 days.
The vote followed months of organizing by the citizens’ group Frack-Free Frostburg, which gathered over 700 petitions and turned out hundreds of residents to rallies and hearings.
“Frostburg residents have sought out this citizens’ campaign, and the movement built over time,” said Kathy Powell, a Frostburg business co-owner and founding member of Frack-Free Frostburg. “We thank city officials for listening to their constituents and taking action to protect the city and our water supply from the harms of fracking.”
Frostburg joins a growing statewide movement of counties, cities, and citizens working to ban fracking across Maryland as the 2017 General Assembly session nears.
More than a dozen localities in Maryland have now approved or introduced measures to either ban fracking locally or to endorse a permanent, statewide ban. The list includes the western Maryland towns of Friendsville and Mountain Lake Park, the counties of Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Frederick, and the cities of Baltimore, Rockville, and Greenbelt.
“With a local ban saying ‘NO’ to fracking, we aren’t just saying ‘YES’ to a better quality of life — we are making sure it happens,” said Kit Pepper, a supporter of the Frostburg campaign. “We hope this provides a further push to state leaders to protect all of Maryland’s communities from fracking’s water pollution, compromised air quality, and poisoned, toxic well sites.”
Polling shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters across Maryland support statewide legislation to ban fracking. Unless the General Assembly passes a permanent, statewide ban next year, Governor Larry Hogan’s administration could allow fracking to begin after October 2017, when the state’s moratorium will expire.
“A groundswell of support is building across Maryland to ban fracking,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Field Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and whose family roots are in Frostburg. “In 2017, it’s time for the General Assembly to follow the lead of western Maryland citizens and cities like Frostburg and pass a permanent, statewide ban.”
CONTACT:
Kathy Powell, 301-707-9900, powellkf@comcast.net
Brooke Harper, 301-992-6875, brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org

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Packed House for Montgomery County Divestment Hearing

Last night, December 6, supporters of fossil-free investments packed a public hearing promoting Montgomery County’s Bill 44-16, a measure to divest the County’s direct investments in coal, oil and gas over a number of years. Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Nancy Navarro have co-sponsored the bill. Together with Councilmember Marc Elrich, a longtime supporter, they spoke at a crowded pre-hearing rally. The crowd then moved upstairs to almost fill the Council Hearing Room.
At the hearing, Montgomery County 350 President Jeff Weisner led off the testimony, followed shortly thereafter by CCAN Director Mike Tidwell. Reflecting the broad interest of the community, a total of 28 of 35 speakers testified in favor of the bill, including labor leaders, Montgomery County retirees, teachers, students and climate scientists. The essential point across each of the speakers for the bill was that County investments should not be aligned with a fossil fuel industry that is driving the planet towards a disastrously altered climate.
Prior to the hearing, Montgomery County 350 delivered approximately 2500 pro-divestment postcards and petitions to the Council. These postcards were gathered at storefronts, farmers markets and college campuses in a genuine grassroots effort. The bill will be considered by the Council in the new year. County residents who wish to voice their opinions on the bill can contact their members at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/contact.html.
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For more pictures from the hearing, visit CCAN’s Flickr album here.
Post By:
David Goodrich, Incoming President
CCAN Board of Directors

Virginians Launch ‘Pipeline Pledge of Resistance’ to Stop MVP and ACP Projects

Signers commit to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience, if necessary, to stop fracked-gas pipelines that threaten land, water and climate safety

Pledge takes inspiration from movements to stop the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines

Virginia citizens and allies launched a “Pipeline Pledge of Resistance” today, asking people dedicated to preserving clean soil and water and a safe climate to commit to joining acts of peaceful civil disobedience in order to stop proposed fracked-gas projects.
The call to action and pledge — available at http://nonewpipelines.org — is signed by the 23 citizens who blocked the gate to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s mansion in early October. The citizens, including an Army veteran, pastors, and coastal residents on the front lines of sea-level rise, were peacefully arrested calling on the Governor to help stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline using his administration’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.
The pledge is inspired by pledges of resistance that have helped to galvanize movements to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and, most recently, the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“If hundreds of us stand up, and pledge to resist these pipelines, including — if necessary — pledging to participate in peaceful, dignified civil disobedience, we can convince our federal, state, regional and local leaders that going forward is no longer politically feasible for them,” the letter states. “And that is our goal.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has a long track record of rubber-stamping gas industry projects, is currently reviewing the proposed 301-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline and the proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Separately, the McAuliffe administration has authority to review and deny essential permits for the projects under section 401 of the Clean Water Act.
As the call to action affirms: “We want to be ready to act at every remaining point in the decision-making process, from FERC’s final review of each pipeline to the McAuliffe administration’s review of each pipeline’s air and water permits.”
The proposed pipelines are part of an unprecedented proposed expansion of fracked-gas infrastructure across the Appalachian region of West Virginia, Virginia and beyond, with up to 19 total pipeline projects under consideration. Together, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline threaten to bisect hundreds of miles of forests and farmland, jeopardize drinking water, and lock the region into decades of more reliance on fossil fuels.
The latest climate math shows that investments in new fossil fuels must stop now in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, including the permanent flooding of low-lying neighborhoods and military bases in coastal Virginia. Meanwhile, recent studies indicate that proposed pipelines in Virginia are part of a risky, regional overbuild by the gas industry, and are not necessary to meet the future energy needs of consumers.

Initiating signers of the “Pipeline Pledge of Resistance” include:

Russell Chisholm, a US Army veteran who served in Desert Storm and a landowner in Newport, Virginia, in Giles County whose land is just a few miles from the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline: “My wife and I fought for our nation’s security only to return home to be denied the basic security of our property rights and our right to clean water. When called to serve I did not shrug my shoulders and claim, ‘not my job.’ Yet that’s essentially what federal regulators and state leaders like Governor McAuliffe are doing now. I’m ready to put my body on the line again, standing with my neighbors to protect our clean water, mountain landscapes, and climate.”
Quan Baker, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, where neighborhoods are increasingly flooded by rising sea levels driven by global warming: “The coast I call home is at risk of drowning because of fossil fuel pollution. Taking the climate crisis seriously, especially in a coastal state like Virginia, means keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shifting our communities rapidly to renewable energy. If it takes getting arrested to ensure that our leaders make the right choice and reject these pipelines, then I’m ready.”
Pastor Paul Wilson, who ministers to the Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist churches in Buckingham County in the impact zone of Dominion’s proposed compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: “My church community is in the ground-zero zone of Dominion’s dangerous compressor station. This project would only propel fracked gas through our community, leaving us with toxic emissions, pounding noise, and explosion danger. We refuse to be sacrificial lambs for the sake of private profits. Getting arrested is a small sacrifice to stop the destruction of our peaceful, rural community.”
Izzy Pezzulo, a junior at the University of Richmond and member of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition: “My generation will pay a steep price for more multi-billion-dollar investments in climate-wrecking fracked gas. At this point, the only responsible and rational choice is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. If our leaders continue to ignore the clear science, then it’s up to us to draw a clear line, standing with communities being directly affected now.”
Contact:
Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

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