According to the Dominion Energy Media Relations Manager Aaron Ruby, in response to a question from former Trump Virginia campaign co-chair John Fredericks (audio below) about what Fredericks calls “enviro thugs”:
Since this [Atlantic Coast Pipeline] project began…there’s been a concerted effort by anti-pipeline groups to really silence anyone in the community who has a different point of view than they do and to silence anyone who tries to express support for the pipeline publicly. I mean some of the behavior that we’ve seen at that public meetings has been just so disrespectful and almost boorish in the way that they have treated pipeline supporters. I mean we just went through two days of public hearings earlier this week at the water Control Board and you had hundreds of people, every single time a supporter of the pipeline – and there were dozens of them who spoke; in fact half of the speakers that spoke at the at the two-day meeting were supporters of the pipeline. Every time they got up to the podium half of the audience stood up in unison turned their back to the podium, they hissed and jeered and booed and they were you know shouting down supporters. And you’re right; I mean, just a few nights ago in fact, the night before the water Control Board voted an anonymous group of anti-pipeline activists trespassed on one of the board members’ properties and hung a banner up on her home, which is some pretty scary stuff. But the good news is the pipeline is moving forward… we are weeks away from getting underway, at least with some some pre-construction activities, so we’re prepared to get underway with full construction early next year.
Now, of course IF any activists actually “trespassed” onto a board member’s property – and this is the first I’ve heard of it – and hung a banner, I would definitely not approve of that type of activity. But the fact is, to date, 99.99999% of activities by pipeline opponents have been completely peaceful and appropriate, overwhelmingly involving things like holding rallies and vigils, posting on blogs and Facebook, writing letters to the editor and comments to the relevant authorities, speaking at public hearings, supporting political candidates who oppose the pipelines, that kind of stuff. So to try and smear the entire anti-pipeline movement by the (supposed) actions of a few “anonymous” activists is really beyond the pale. And let me just say, the fact that the spokesman for a state-protected, supposedly state-regulated monopoly utility not to correct a far-right radio host’s smearing of anti-pipeline activists as “enviro thugs” should be completely unacceptable. It also will not stop people who care about our environment from fighting back in the court of public opinion and in the courts as well against Dominion Energy’s out-of-control bullying.
Speaking of which, throughout this entire process Dominion and its allies have played dirty and corrupt, as is their wont, including spreading wads of money around our political system in order to get their way, acting as if pipeline opponents are outside the mainstream (to the contrary, pipeline opponents are regular people from all over Virginia who care about our land, water, climate, etc.), organizing pro-pipeline speakers at hearings to give the false impression of balance and grassroots support for the pipelines, etc, etc.
For a completely different view than Aaron Ruby’s, check out anti-pipeline activist Jennifer Lewis, who asserts, “[Dominion’s spokesman Aaron Ruby] has the nerve to complain about ‘the resistance’ and says he’s afraid of activists when he is the one stealing people’s land and forcing them to live next to an explosive pipeline.” Also, as Lewis wrote a few days ago during the Atlantic Coast Pipeline public hearing, “[Dominion’s spokesman Aaron Ruby] called us water protectors ‘a mob’. We are fighting for our lives, our water, our farms, our forests, our communities, we aren’t backing down, Aaron, you should just give up now, the ‘mob’ will only grow from here! ” I couldn’t agree more with Lewis. More to the point, I personally pledge to not let Dominion intimidate me, to keep speaking out against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and to encourage everyone – including General Assembly members, Gov.-elect Northam’s administration, etc. – to join this effort to beat back the Dominion Energy behemoth and protect our air, water and land from destructive, unnecessary fossil fuel development.