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.”
Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, firstname.lastname@example.org