The Liberal Women of Chesterfield County is a grassroots community of mostly women who have come together since the 2016 presidential election. They “hope to make Chesterfield County an example of how concerned citizens can help shape the way politicians listen and engage with their constituents” and “strive to be a support force for our local candidates and advocacy organizations and a true voice for our communities to be represented in Virginia.”
After Chesterfield County flipped blue for the first time since the 1960s, this group of activists — and their leader, Kim Drew Wright — have been widely heralded for their efforts, in the Washington Post, the Richmond Times, on CNN and elsewhere.
They’ve raised money, they’ve organized events, they’ve phone banked, and they’ve canvassed over 80,000 voters, in support of their local Delegate races as well as to help elect Governor Ralph Northam last November. And now, they have a simple request of their governor, which they hand-delivered to his office today, signed by 170 of their members: stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).
Honorable Ralph Northam
Governor of Virginia
April 20, 2018
Liberal Women of Chesterfield County and Beyond
Chesterfield County, VA
Dear Governor Northam,
We members of Liberal Women of Chesterfield County are writing to you to request your immediate attention, as we are gravely concerned with the environmental future and safety of our Commonwealth. The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines would cut through 1,000 miles of our state and threaten ecosystems, property rights and most importantly, the water supplies for millions of Virginians.
We have been strong supporters, volunteers and advocates for your campaign for Governor and continue as proud and very politically engaged constituents. We knocked on over 80,000 doors, mobilizing others to share your vision of a fair and equitable Virginia. We actively support the many other positive aspects of your administration and remind you of your commitment to the health and safety of Virginia. You took an oath to “do no harm.” As a physician we recognize you as an advocate for health and women’s rights. We ask you to now use your authority, as provided through the Clean Water Act, Section 401, to stop the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.
Your intervention would help communities in the path and adjacent blast zones of the MVP and ACP who face hundreds of millions of dollars of lost property value, recreational tourism revenue and personal income. Added to those losses is the cost of the projects, now approaching $6 Billion, that will be passed to ratepayers. These are figures that cannot be ignored and will be the result of financially destructive projects that will also threaten the watersheds of millions of Virginians and specifically, the James River, one of three major drinking sources for Chesterfield County. The costs associated with mitigation for damaged water supplies could be omitted with investment in clean energy and the prevention of new fossil fuel projects. In 2017 you stated that “it’s clear to everyone that the future is in renewable energy.” We agree with you. Supporting this stance, the Virginia Energy Alliance 2017 Development Report shows renewable energy skyrocketed in 2017 and they expect 2018 to be a robust year. Our future is in clean energy, water safety and the conservation of our environment.
In interest of our Commonwealth’s future, we ask that you act immediately on the following:
Halt any further felling of trees along the MVP and ACP path, as the Clean Water Act Section 401 allows a state to deny tree-felling if the projects are not fully certified.
Require the Department of Environmental Quality to perform site-specific permitting for each water crossing. As each crossing and its surrounding ecosystems are unique, each must be fully examined, a position you publicly communicated to the DEQ in February 2017. The review process they ultimately chose was rushed, flawed and was geared to meet “approval” per the Water Permitting Division Director, Melanie Davenport, as communicated at the Atlantic Coast Pipeline State Water Control Board meeting on December 11, 2017.
Restore the autonomy of the appointed State Water Control Board to have final review of the erosion, stormwater and sediment control plans, and allow the public to submit input.
These are actions you have full authority to accomplish. We urge you to act immediately as your delayed action would result in irreparable damage to the lives of communities and the environment along the paths.
Please, stop the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.
Members of Liberal Women of Chesterfield County and Beyond