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Dominion learned the meaning of community in Nelson County

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The day after Dominion sued an additional 39 landowners to include Nelson's Sheriff David Brooks, it hosted one of its dog and pony shows in Nelson County. Hundreds of landowners and citizens schooled Dominion on what it means to live in and be a part of a community.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, attendees broke out in song, singing the chorus from Robin and Linda Williams anti-pipeline song, "We Don't Want Your Pipeline."  Later during the event, In support of an African American community which will be devastated if the ACP is ever built, and whose ancestors were given land by their slaveholders  after emancipation, citizens and landowners stood arm-in-arm belting out a revised version of the old hymn, "We Shall Overcome."

Dominion Sues Nelson County Sheriff

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Dominion filed lawsuits against 47 Augusta and Nelson County landowners in attempt to seek what it believes is its right to survey private property without landowner permission in December.  Dominion made those suits public on Christmas Eve, assumingly in an attempt to ruin folks holidays

Today, Dominion's second round of lawsuits came to light.  Included among the 39 additional suits filed in Nelson County is one for Nelson's Sheriff David Brooks and his wife, Sherri. The Brooks responded with this statement:

"It is disappointing that our government has sold our property rights to the highest bidder. We will continue to protect our land and we are not intimidated by Dominion's strong arm tactics."

Dominion's suit brought against the Brooks is especially devastating for the couple as Sherri Is fighting cancer with strength and determination.

Dominion seems equally determined to ignore the wishes of the people in the path of its proposed pipeline, displaying the depth of their disdain for the circumstances in which the Brooks and others face in their daily lives.  Greed, profit, and a business plan calling for the continued use of fossil fuels against all odds has seemingly become Dominion's mantra!

Dominion is just too into itself!

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Dominion Transmission has begun its last-ditch effort to get landowners to agree to survey by having an attorney send letters to 226 landowners along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The letter says things like it's to the benefit of the landowners to agree to survey so owners can direct surveyors to sensitive areas of their property.  But it also makes clear landowner requests cannot be guaranteed.

It also talks about how allowing survey helps Dominion gather the necessary information for the federal government. In the end, the letter says Dominion has done everything it is legally required to do and that Dominion is just sending this one last request before it gets a court order to trespass on private property. The letter says nothing about the pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of VAcode section 56-49.01.

In the Richmond Times Dispatch article Dominion states 73% of 2,500 landowners have agreed to survey. 73% equals 1,825 landowners. Why has Dominion only mailed 226 letters?  What happened to the other 449 landowners. Of the 226 letters 189 are to Virginians. 90 of whom are in Nelson, 46 in Augusta.  One would think Dominion would realize its proposed ACP isn't wanted in these areas and might look elsewhere! They prefer to bully and threaten our citizens.  

Our General Assembly and other elected officials have allowed Dominion to have its way for far too long. Dominion has become much too into itself. They're in for a fight they aren't used to waging. The opposition is organized and growing. Perhaps regular citizens can show our elected officials how its done...how to fight for what's right and to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure that will certainly contribute to climate change.

Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s “Sacrifice Zones”

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MVP and ACP photo MountainValleyampACPPipelineRoanokeTimes_350_zps7d007351.jpgAt an E-Coalition event last weekend one discussion centered on Environmental Injustice and addressed what are sometimes referred to as "sacrifice zones." In 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order No.12898 aimed at environmental justice in low-income and minority populations. Do the proposed natural gas pipelines violate that order?

From a Daily Kos article last February entitled, Racist Sacrifice Zones With XL Pipeline Are Grounds Alone for Rejecting Permit:

For years, low-income and minority areas have been targeted to benefit corporations. Many corporations have a history and pattern of locating energy and other projects in or near minority, Indian or low-income communities.

They force the burdens of projects designed (they say) to benefit society primarily on these targeted communities, which can thus create "sacrifice zones."

The projects devastate the lives of the people in these zones by harming their culture, health, lives, lands, natural resources, wildlife, homes and/or quality of life. These people are marginalized by commodifying them. They are harmed in the name of the "greater good" of the dominant culture for the provision of energy and disposal of waste.

Beneficiaries of these zones are the corporations operating the projects for huge profits and the dominant culture society, who are provided energy to run their air conditioners or cars without suffering the extreme harms forced on the targeted community in the sacrifice zone.


The US Census Bureau's color-coded Percent in Poverty map helps illustrate that both the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines have been placed in rural areas, many of which are stricken with high poverty rates, populated by low income families, and/or consist of minority communities. The contrast along the path of the proposed pipelines is telling:  

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 6

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Note: After consternation regarding the use of the absolutely oxymoronic right-wing figure of speech "crazy environmentalist" in the letter below, the word crazy was removed and the text changed. However, comments that had already been posted lost their context following the changes, so I have restored the original. Here's the bottom line: anyone who isn't an environmentalist is the crazy. If you believe human behavior does not invite disaster then dip your toes in "Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed" by Jared Diamond or "The sixth extinction: an unnatural history" by Elizabeth Kolbert. - Dan Sullivan

Here is the 6th is our series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid."  In this letter, our contributor, Johnny Ponton, writes about Dominion's legal goodwill contributions to our elected officials.  He hopes by contributing to this continuing series, our elected officials will begin to hear their constituents' concerns and do the job they were elected to do...represent the people.

Johnny Ponton has lived in Nelson County all his life, with the exception of time he spent in North Carolina while attending college and during his service to our country in the military in the 1960's.   He served on the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in the 1990's.  He's now retired, and builds tables in his woodworking shop in Lovingston.

Here's Johnny's letter:

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 5

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Here is the 5th in the series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid."  The photo included in this post [below the fold] of the mudslides in Nelson was included in this Washington Post article. The photo is part of a collection owned by Nelsonian, Dick Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead's father, Bill Whitehead, was the sheriff in Nelson County in 1969 when the flood occurred.

Tamra Marshall lives in Nellysford, Virginia. Her family has a long history in the hills of Nelson County. Her Grandpa Jack Marshall worked with the Citizen Conservation Corps building the [Blue Ridge] Parkway, as locals refer to it, and many of the local roads during lean times. Tamra has strong opinions about Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline relating to the unmarked graves of those Nelsonian's who lost their lives and were never found in the aftermath of Hurricane Camille.

Here is Tamra's story:

Dominion Continues to Frustrate and Obfuscate Nelsonians at Open House

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 photo OutsidetheNelsonCountyDominionpresentation_e_zps7c8cd28d-1.jpgIt was a frustrating evening for the hundreds of Nelsonians who attended an "Open House" hosted by Dominion to lay out its planned route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Lined up outside the entry door, residents came prepared with questions, most of which went unanswered.  The same old rehearsed lines were stated over and over again.  "This is in the preliminary stages, we just don't know yet."  "We haven't done the engineering yet, we can't answer that now."  "That depends on the category you are in, and we're not sure yet."  "We'll abide by all DEQ and FERC regulations."

In a divide and conquer tactic, Dominion had stations set up, which allowed them to frequently tell Nelsonians looking for answers they would have to move to another station, stand in another line, to ask a different "expert" the question they wanted answered.  Attendees heard frequently, "You'll have to ask so and so that question, I don't know."

Anti-pipeline group, Free Nelson, attended the event and its members learned several of Dominion's representatives weren't from Virginia.  When speaking to one rep about the devastation caused in Nelson by Hurricane Camille, particularly the Davis Creek area, Free Nelson was surprised the representative looked so confused.  When asked, "Are you from Virginia?"  "Well, no," she replied, "but most of the Dominion representatives here are."  Free Nelson explained about the 12 mudslides in the Davis Creek area during Camille which took the lives of 52 people, 20 of whom were never found.  When Free Nelson pointed out the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is routed through the Davis Creek area, the Dominion rep replied,  "Well, we have a procedure to follow should we find human remains."

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 4

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 This is the fourth letter in our series, "We're Rural, Not Stupid." Dominion held its first open house for residents last night in neighboring Augusta County, VA.  One attendee said, "At yet another table someone was asking about gas export. We pressed the brown shirt [the Dominion representative] who finally said Dominion just builds the pipeline." Tonight it's Nelson's turn to listen to the "experts" tell us how wrong we are.

Cheryl Borgman is a life-long Democrat who stands strongly against Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  She has worked with Nelson Democrats consistently in the past in campaigns for local, state and federal candidates.  Cheryl has  canvassed, phone banked and done a lot of data entry.  She's one of the folks the local committee can count on...one of the ones with the asterisk by their name, because they always say yes when asked to help.  This year, she feels differently.  She has sent her letter to the local Democratic Committee and to Democratic candidates seeking office in 2014.

Here's Cheryl's letter:

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 3

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This is the third in our series of letters from Nelsonians relating their concerns about Dominion's Atlantic Coast pipeline.

Marion Kanour is an involved and active member of the Nelson community.  She was born and raised in Norfolk, served in the US Marine Corps for 4 years as an Aviation Supply Officer and has been an ordained Episcopal Priest for 21 years.  Marion currently serves as the Priest of Grace Episcopal Church, Massie's Mill, Nelson, VA.  She has a knack for seeing needs in our community and setting about to fill those needs.  As well as supporting many community groups (i.e, the renovation of a local baseball field), she has played an integral role in the creation of Nelson's Domestic Violence Task Force, as well as being the organizer of one of Nelson's anti-pipeline groups, Free Nelson.  She and her wife, Barbara Heyl, live in the Greenfield area of Nelson County.

Here's Marion's poignant letter:

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 2

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The second in a series of posts to Blue Virginia sharing letters from Nelsonians which outline their concerns, frustrations and determination to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  We hope from these letters, BV readers, our local, state and federal officials will begin to acknowledge and understand the validity of the arguments being made by residents of rural Nelson County. Our elected officials would allow a for-profit, privately held company, in this case Dominion Power, to encroach upon our lands and our way of life.  Nelsonians may live in a rural area, but are not stupid.  They are well-informed, knowledgeable and will not stop their efforts to shine a light on the issues that affect them.  Governor McAuliffe can hide in a restaurant rather than speak to protesters, some officials can vote against the best interests of their constituents, but Nelsonians are united in their fight.

Sherri Moyer Brooks and her husband, Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks are native Nelsonians and life-long Democrats.  Their property is in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sherri and David received one of the dreaded letters from Dominion Power "asking" for permission to survey their property,  which also outlined Dominion could do so without their permission.  David recently asked the Warner campaign to remove his name from a letter Senator Warner sent out listing Sheriff Brooks as having endorsed him, when David had not.  You may read that story here.

Here is Sherri's letter:

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