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Tuesday News: Mike Pompeo In, Ronny Jackson Out?; “Sarah Drunkabee Sanders”; “What is wrong with Corey Stewart?”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, April 24.

  • From 350 Loudoun:

    For Immediate Release: NOVA Mobilizes in Pipeline Fight

    Northern Virginia environmentalists and others from across the Commonwealth spend Earth Day visiting the Buckingham County community in which a proposed compressor station along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route will be located.

    DATELINE – Sterling, VA April 23, 2018 – Twenty-seven Northern Virginian environmental activists observed Earth Day by traveling to Buckingham County on the Journey to the Heart of Virginia Environmental Justice Road Trip. There, they visited historic African American and well-known yoga ashram communities in which will be directly impacted by the proposed controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

    The Union Hill Baptist church, founded by freed enslaved people in the late 1800’s and currently attended by the descendants of those liberated people, opened their historic church to discuss the impact the ACP and the proposed compressor station is already having on their community. If constructed, the compressor station which will be located a mile from their church. Community testimony, including personal stories from landowners affected by eminent domain, highlighted environmental justice issues for marginalized low-income communities and communities of color. The designated ACP and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) routes are disproportionately routed through such communities.

    As Don Andress, one of the bus riders from Vienna, VA stated, “The destruction I saw and felt seemed to have no purpose. Trees were cut down, but left on the ground, not cleared away. Or rather the purpose looks to be a power show– to traumatize, to dishearten. One speaker, an African American grandmother, spoke of the impact on her of the trees right next to her property being cut, with no notice given”.

    Yogaville, a well-respected ashram, will also located a mile from the compressor station. It hosted the NOVA environmental activists with lunch and an information session on the history of the permitting process, the communities’ attempts to use the prescribed processes to halt the project and the guaranteed environmental and human health impacts which will occur as a result of the pipeline and compressor station construction and operation. The information session also touched upon the possible devastation to the community if there were a pipeline or compressor station leak or explosion. Most of the homes in the Yogaville community property are within what is known as the incineration zone.

    Pipeline opponents across Virginia are mobilizing against the initial tree-cutting phase for the 600-mile long ACP and the 303-mile long MVP. Opposition efforts include pipeline education, such as this bus trip, tree-sits, prayer circles, engagement with elected officials, such as the press conference held on April 18th, public input into the recently reopened Water Control Board Hearings and lawsuits. Many opponents are also pointing to the denial by Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York of the 401 Water Certification permits under the Clean Water Act for the proposed Constitution pipeline as an example of the way in which Virginia and Governor Ralph Northam can counter the approvals issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    The pipelines are controversial because there is not a demonstrated domestic demand for additional natural gas resources, which is a requirement for the use of eminent domain. The public necessity criteria required for the use of eminent domain has therefore not been met. Property owners in the path of the ACP and MVP use this fact to decry the improper seizure of their land.

    In addition to the social justice issues the pipelines’ construction raises, they will cut through 71 miles of extremely fragile karst geology, subject to sinkholes whenever disturbed such as in pipeline construction. The probability of compromising pipeline integrity in karst geology is extremely high. Pollution of groundwater in areas not serviced by public drinking water is an intolerable threat to the health of rural communities in the path of fracked gas pipelines. Public water supplies are also threatened as the headwaters of the James, Potomac, and Roanoke Rivers are crossed by pipelines. These bodies of water provide public drinking water for millions of Virginians living in Roanoke, Richmond and the D.C. metro area.

    Adding to the controversy are the recent reports which reveal that the previous Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Dominion Energy, the largest company in the construction consortium of the ACP, before the pipeline was approved. The MOU caps the limits of liability from any and all environmental damages incurred by the ACP to a mere $58 million. It appears that the citizens of Virginia would be expected to pay to clean up any leaks, explosions or other accidents after this small amount was exceeded.

    Dr. Tarryn Foster of Leesburg summed up the trip by saying, “My experience in Buckingham County made me fully understand the impact this situation is having on the local people and our natural resources, but, even more, how far reaching this can be to our entire planet and the most vulnerable among us – the elderly and our children. The health and well-being of them both are truly at stake and will be negatively affected for generations to come.”

  • From Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova:

    Greetings,

    During today’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, the Board marked up the FY2019 Advertised Budget by a vote of 8-2. Formal adoption of the budget will take place on May 1, 2018. I would like to share with you my remarks prior to our vote this morning:

    Photo by Olivia Mendoza / Courtesy of U.S. Army
    The process for adopting the County Budget every year is all about community engagement. Fiscal Year 2019 is no exception, with Budget Forums and Town Hall Meetings hosted in each of our nine Districts, Budget Committee meetings (which included our partners on the School Board), and three days of public hearings on the Advertised Budget earlier this month. Since February, our offices have received hundreds, if not thousands, of letters, e-mail messages, phone calls and personal visits from our constituents.

    The Budget “mood” this year was harmonic, thanks to an Advertised Budget that I believe Hit all of the Right Notes.

    The Budget that we are about to “Mark-Up,” or amend, is based on a tax rate of $1.15. The package:
    Fully funds the School Board’s request, bringing teachers’ salaries into competitive alignment with our sister jurisdictions in the region;
    Overall support for our school system is increased by $91.49 million or 4.22% over Fiscal Year 2018, with 52.8% of our General Fund Budget going to schools;
    Fully funds compensation for our County employees with a 2.25% Market Rate Adjustment, Performance, Merit and Longevity increases;
    Includes funding for Fairfax First, Gang Prevention, the expansion of Diversion First and Opportunity Neighborhoods, additional slots for Early Childhood programs, and funding to address the Opioid Crisis;
    Provides an increase in funding for Metro (pending a long-term solution), VRE and our Connector Bus System.
    While this Mark-Up package includes a 2 cent increase in the real estate tax rate, an increase of $241 on the average annual tax bill, I believe the additional revenue is an important investment needed to shore up the foundation on which our quality of life rests.

    I want to thank Budget Committee Chairman Jeff McKay for his excellent work bringing this Mark-Up Package to the Board today, along with Budget Guidance that addresses issues discussed during budget deliberations with each of our colleagues. Adoption of a Budget every year requires the good faith collaboration of each member or our Board and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to come together on a Budget process that moves Fairfax County forward.

  • BREAKING! Extremist freakazoid endorses extremist freakazoid in VA-06! LOL

    Former Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann Endorses Cynthia Dunbar for Congress

    FOREST, VA—Today, former Congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate, Michelle Bachmann, announced her endorsement of Cynthia Dunbar for U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s sixth district.

    “Cynthia Dunbar’s long track record of standing firm on conservative issues comes from her core beliefs,” said Bachmann. “Her faith in God and commitment to the Constitution are what guide her every decision and enable her to stand boldly in opposition to the establishment. I am proud to give her my full endorsement in her bid for Congress.”

    Michelle Bachmann previously represented Minnesota’s sixth congressional district and was the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress. She served as one of the earliest supporters of the Tea Party movement, and was one of the founders of the House Tea Party Caucus. In 2012, Michelle Bachmann ran for the Republican presidential nomination, and won the Ames Straw Poll in August of 2011.

    “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Michelle Bachmann as one of the earliest founders of the conservative movement that we are continuing to fight today. In large part, the movement she helped start was what delivered Donald Trump the presidency and Republicans the majorities we now hold in Congress,” said Dunbar. “To have her endorsement in my campaign is an honor. The support we’ve received from conservative leaders across the county shows that we are truly the campaign in this race fighting on behalf of the people. We are excited that Michelle has recognized this as well, and I am humbled to have the support of someone of her stature.”

    The Dunbar campaign added Michelle Bachmann’s endorsement to a long list of other conservative leaders, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, former Congressman Ron Paul, Lt. Gen. Boykin, the Susan B. Anthony List, and many others. As the campaign continues to increase it’s momentum and level of support, Cynthia continues to be the only candidate equipped to take on the Swamp and DC establishment. To date, Dunbar remains in the best position to take over the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte.

  • DCStrangler

    Lowkell, the reason no one takes this blog seriously (or one of them at least) is your mean spirited name calling. And it’s not even funny or clever. There are lots of reasons to dislike Sanders, but why gild the lilly with such childish tactics? It just makes you look small.

    • I guess you don’t find Jimmy Kimmel funny; that’s his joke, which I found amusing. Did you watch the video?