From the Green New Deal Virginia:
Green New Deal Virginia Delivers Petition Criticizing Reckless Plan to Invite 4,000 Out of State Mountain Valley Pipeline Workers Into Virginia During a Pandemic: Told “You Can’t Come In” and “It’s Not Safe to Accept a Petition”
Governor’s Office willing to protect itself, but not willing to protect Southwest Virginia from an Increased COVID-19 Health Threat
Yesterday, Green New Deal Virginia went to multiple state offices in Richmond in an attempt to personally deliver their petition to the Governor of Virginia, Doctor Ralph Northam, Attorney General, The Honorable Mark Herring, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Daniel Carey, M.D., and the State Health Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health, Dr Norman Oliver asking the Administration to stop construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The petition highlights concerns that Mountain Valley Pipeline intends to bring more than 4,000 workers into Virginia this month – in a concentrated, 30 mile, mountainous stretch near Roanoke — to expand construction on the pipeline at a time when COVID-19 cases are experiencing explosive growth across the nation, including in the Southwest portion of our Commonwealth.
MVP intends to do this despite the fact that it lacks multiple federal permits that are required to complete construction, including permits designed to protect waterways and endangered species.
Green New Deal Virginia is a broad coalition of more than 70 grassroots organizations co-founded in December 2018 by Virginia Delegates Sam Rasoul and Elizabeth Guzman, who have both signed the petition. The request is supported by more than 1,500 people to date, including national environmental and social justice activists William Barber III, co-chair, Ecological Justice Committee NC Poor People’s Campaign, and Karenna Gore, founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics, and daughter of former Vice President Al Gore. Green New Deal Virginia representatives were barred admittance to the Attorney General’s office building and the Patrick Henry Building, and told to mail or fax their petition – because accepting in-person delivery of documents at state offices was not part of the new COVID-19 safety protocols.
Lee Williams, co-director of Green New Deal Virginia and an executive committee member with the Sierra Club, Falls of the James Group commented:
“Bringing 4,000 out of state workers to Virginia to build an unneeded, greenhouse gas polluting, climate crisis denying, fracked gas pipeline in the middle of a pandemic is barbarous and indifferent to the health concerns and needs of the community, and horribly irresponsible policy from a Governor and Physician. The entire six county region along the proposed path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has a total of 100 Intensive Care Unit beds* and will be overwhelmed by the increase in cases that will ultimately result from this invasion. Doctor Northam won’t allow himself or his staff to be exposed to the possible risks involved in handling a simple petition. But when it comes to the health and safety of the communities in Southwest Virginia, who are facing 4,000 times the threat if pipeline work is allowed to take place, there is an obvious double standard, and the doctor is out.”
Karen Campblin, co-director of Green New Deal Virginia stated:
“On July 5, Dominion Energy wisely announced that it was canceling construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, after losing multiple federal permits in a series of court decisions. Mountain Valley Pipeline has lost these very same permits and already has been fined more than $2 million for hundreds of violations of Virginia environmental laws and regulations. Yet the company intends to move forward, placing Virginia’s environment and the health of our people at grave risk. Virginia needs to act responsibly by doing everything in its power to stop construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
The text of the letter, which has been emailed to government officials for their own protection, follows:
Subject: Governor Northam: Stop Mountain Valley Pipeline from bringing more than 4,000 out of state pipeline workers to Virginia in the middle of a Pandemic
It’s a new day in Virginia! Dominion Energy’s racist rip off, Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been defeated.
This great victory was made possible by the just demands of a determined, organized, grassroots and multi-generational movement that declared, in one voice, that justice would prevail.
Last week, a federal court in Montana invalidated a nationwide permit that Mountain Valley Pipeline is relying on to cross more than 1,200 waterways. And a federal appeals court has indicated it is likely to affirm the judge’s finding.
Mountain Valley Pipeline lacks multiple permits required for construction.
I urge you and other top officials within the Administration to call for the cancellation of the MVP and MVP Southgate projects. Construction of the unnecessary MVP should never have been allowed to start without the necessary permits, and has already served a grave injustice to all those in its path. As I write, MVP, LLC is planning to deploy 4,000 workers to increase work on the MVP during a pandemic, putting workers and vulnerable community members’ health and lives at risk from the COVID-19 crisis. In a region of Virginia that has 100 Intensive Care Unit beds. This isn’t just a bad idea. It’s inhumane.
MVP, LLC is also trying to push forward an extension of the MVP, called MVP Southgate, despite not meeting the requirements to legally complete its MVP predecessor.
In addition to the ACP’s cancellation, the recent court ruling shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline has proven that rubber-stamped, unnecessary and unjust projects like DAPL, ACP, MVP and its MVP Southgate extension should not, and cannot stand.
Again, I urge you to publicly call for the cancellation of the MVP and MVP Southgate projects, and I ask that you contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and MVP, LLC calling for the same.
Concerned Citizen of Virginia