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Draft Statement from Virginia Advisory Council on Environmental Justice Calls for New Gas Infrastructure Moratorium, Stream-by-Stream Assessment


Not sure how much to make of this, courtesy of the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, but the contrast between what Gov. Northam’s “Advisory Council on Environmental Justice” is recommending – “a moratorium on new gas infrastructure in the Commonwealth and…a stream-by-stream assessment of the impact of both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines” – and what is actually going on right now is stark. It is even starker when compared to the utter contempt and disrespect exhibited this morning on WTOP by Northam’s communications director, who said about environmental/anti-pipeline grassroots activists, “Many of these people, they are not acting in good faith.” Simply astounding. Anyway, it will be interesting to see whether Gov. Northam listens to this advice, or simply ignores it like he has with everyone else (other than pipeline interests) who has tried to get through to him on this.


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice reached consensus May 30 on a draft statement recommending a moratorium on new gas infrastructure in the Commonwealth and calling for a stream-by-stream assessment of the impact of both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

The advisory council, created by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2017, also said the placing of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s compressor station in Union Hill, a historic African-American community in Buckingham County, exhibits racism and maintained that the human rights of protestors — including those who have engaged in tree sits — are being violated by state and local law enforcement officials as well as the U.S. Forestry Service.

Consensus on a final draft will be worked out quickly, members said, and the language could be modified. No timetable has been set, but council members said it was important to finalize their recommendations before decisions are made by other regulatory bodies. When completed, the recommendations will be sent to Gov. Northam.

The council held its May 30 meeting in Buckingham County to give members a first-hand view of areas that will be impacted by the ACP and compressor station. It also heard concerns expressed by about 30 people during a public comment period. Matt Strickler, Secretary of Natural Resources, joined the council for its meeting.

~~ Robert Dilday, co-director, Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice

 — in Buckingham, Virginia.

  • Sharon Ponton

    The statement posted by Robert Dilday is factual. We are thankful for the ACEJ, their work over the last few months educating themselves about pipeline issues and the impact of those pipelines on all communities along their paths, with particular focus on disenfranchised communities.

  • RobertColgan

    This whole thing reminds me of PA where I previously lived and what happened there when the fracking was first being okay’d by the DEP and DNResources without any significant environmental assessment other than the promises by the drillers that they would be “careful.”
    I attended many meetings, met with and spoke with the heads of both agencies as well as legislators———-to all of whom I queried “Where’s the Environmental Impact Study?” . . .and from all of whom I got runaround answers.

    They were going to industrialize the outdoors —–through streams, around and in State parkland, close to towns and schools, homes, etc——with major construction equipment including pipelines and compressor stations. . . ..and HADN’T done an impact study.

    Hell, you need a site review just to put up a garage most places and they were talking about altering the landscape of two-thirds of PA.

    Finally, after years of simply licensing drillers, the SC finally got into the fray and said that the State mandate in Article 1 Sec 27:
    “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
    directed the State to put those resources ahead of the financial wants and demands of the oil companies.

    But it took years for this to happen.
    The fight against the pipeline here in VA is relatively young by comparison. The louder the outcry by the citizens——-the better the chance Northam et al will finally begin to listen.

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