Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s “Sacrifice Zones”

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

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

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:

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 3

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

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:

Dominion wants public searched!

In an attempt to restrict access by the public to Dominion's pipeline "open house" in Augusta County, Dominion has moved the "public event" to a private venue, Augusta Expo, at Fishersville after Augusta County Administrator Pat Coffield canceled the event at the Verona Government Center. A request by Dominion to search the public before entering the open house because of "safety concerns" was denied by Coffield.

The Augusta Alliance, an anti-pipeline citizens group, had planned a rally to be held outside the Verona Government Center to coincide with Dominion's "Open House" scheduled for Monday, September 15. The "Open House" was to begin at 4 pm for elected officials. In an interview by Tri-Cities.com,

Coffield  stressed that the government center is a working government building where public business takes place. "This overlaps with our operations,'' he said of the open house. He also said when a public meeting is held in a public building it is not proper to search bags or restrict access.

The Tri-Cities story can be found here.

“We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 1

Today I begin 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.

The letter below is from Susan McSwain, who worked for Nelson County for many years as our recycling guru.  Under her leadership our recycling program was built and operates today.  She describes herself as "A dismayed, lifelong Democrat who owns 500 acres of forest and pasture, who leases land to a hunt club (Mr. Warner professes to enjoy hunting), who has worked all my life to save this planet for future generations.  NO PIPELINE!!!    NO FRACKING!!!"  Susan's letter begins with an email she sent to me regarding my resignation as chair of the Nelson Democratic Committee and continues with a letter she sent to Max at Senator Warner's campaign office in Charlottesville.  

Governor McAuliffe Hides Like a Frightened Child

 photo DowntownMallchildren_zps39b4f5c6.jpgMembers from several community groups opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to include Free Nelson, Friends of Nelson, the Pipeline Education Group, and the Augusta County Alliance held a rally this morning at Charlottesville City Hall.  After the rally, the group marched chanting, "Hey, Ho, The Dominion pipeline has got to go," 4 blocks west to a location where a fundraiser was being held for Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.  Ms. Lundergan Grimes is seeking the U.S. Senate seat now held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Governor McAuliffe had accepted an invitation to attend this fundraising event.  As the group approached from the west, Governor McAuliffe was spotted approaching from the east. At first, he obviously didn't understand what was happening as he continued to approach his destination. However, when he realized a group protesting Dominion's "energy super highway"  was waiting at the door of the event he was to attend, he abruptly changed course and ducked into the restaurant next door.  

He chose to refuse to acknowledge or speak to the group consisting of people who worked for and helped elect him last fall.  Rather than defend his position in favor of the pipeline, he hid in a restaurant like a frightened child.  Really bad form, Governor McAuliffe!