by Edwin Santana
This morning, I’m thinking about a woman called “Red”, sitting in a tree in Roanoke County VA – about 250 miles away from where I sit right now. She’s been there for weeks.
She’s sitting in a tree on her own property, land her family has owned for six generations. She is hoping the crews from the Mountain Valley Pipeline don’t decide today is the day they cut down the trees to make way for the pipeline to carry fracked natural gas. The police have visited her property and asked her to come down, to leave. She’s being denied food and water – unless she leaves her post. And she’s still sitting, still protesting, still hoping.
I have so many questions, so many concerns.
Even though Floyd County is not in the First Congressional District, I feel strongly that what goes on in that part of Virginia influences what will happen in the future in other parts of Virginia.
Bent Mountain today, Taylorsville Basin tomorrow.
Roanoke River today, Rappahannock River tomorrow.
Fracking, pipelines, offshore drilling all threaten the environment, the drinking water and the economic engines that the VA-01 waterways are to the Commonwealth. To proceed with this pipeline plan is short-sighted, does not benefit Virginians and should be stopped.
Delegate Marcus Simon (House -53) said “I think rather than trying to starve a woman out of her tree on her property, we ought to address the real process questions that exist about this project.”
I agree completely. I also think complete transparency on the process is critical – the bond of trust has already been broken.
Permits to clear have been issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Senator Kaine has asked for a rehearing so the concerns of the community can be heard. So far, there has been no action on a rehearing.
After visiting Bent Mountain, Delegate Sam Rasoul, (House- 11) shared on Facebook: “ A clear abuse of power. Forceful taking of private property for the wealth of a for-profit out-of-state firm! Hundreds of thousands of people could have their water sources impacted!.“
Delegate Rasoul is encouraging Virginians to call Governor Northam – I’m calling today.. I’m also calling Senators Kaine and Warner. I hope you do the same.
And you have my promise that I will always support the environment, our waterways and the people of the First Congressional District over out-of-state corporations wanting to make a quick profit off our land.
Every. Single. Time.