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

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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.

MORATORIUM ON NEW GAS INFRASTRUCTURE INCLUDED IN DRAFT STATEMENT FROM ADVISORY COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 

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.