Four Stellar Women speak out against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Give a listen.

OpEd from Karenna Gore regarding denial of MVP’s VA 401 permit, and the anniversary of the Clean Water Act:

The common wealth of water

In the final months of 2021, a decision is looming in Virginia about the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry fracked gas on a 303-mile route that crosses hundreds of bodies of water and traverses steep slopes that are prone to erosion.

The State Water Control Board will vote on whether to grant the company the water quality certification required under the Clean Water Act after a public comment period that closes on Oct. 27.

The company behind the pipeline has already been cited for more than 350 violations along this route. Local communities and landowners are objecting to the use of eminent domain for a project averse to the public interest. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the Army Corps of Engineers deny the section 404 permit due to “substantial concerns” about the project’s impact on streams and rivers.

And, on top of all that, this pipeline is not even needed…

Read more at the Virginia Mercury, October 18, 2021

Karenna Gore is the founder and executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. 

Virginia Senator Ghazala F. Hashmi column in the RTD:

Mountain Valley Pipeline is unjust and our state board must deny new permits

I have had the honor of serving in the Virginia Senate since 2020, and issues of environmental justice have been among my top priorities. In the past two years, we codified that it is the “policy of the commonwealth to promote environmental justice and ensure that it is carried out throughout the commonwealth.”

We also established the definition of environmental justice in Virginia as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of every person, regardless of race, color, national origin, income, faith or disability, regarding the development, implementation or enforcement of any environmental law, regulation or policy.”

This full commitment to environmental justice informs my deep concern and strong opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Lambert Compressor Station, two projects that will harm our neighbors in Southwest and Southside Virginia.

The 303-mile fracked-gas pipeline project is environmentally unjust and dangerous, as the route rips through culturally significant Indigenous sites and brings a risk of explosion to rural communities. MVP would lock Virginia into climate emissions equal to 19 million vehicles per year — at a time when we must seek cleaner, long-term energy solutions.

For years, Virginians living near the route have raised critical concerns about the pipeline’s harm to water resources in Giles, Craig, Montgomery, Franklin, Roanoke and Pittsylvania counties. Additionally, air quality would be negatively impacted because of the Lambert Compressor Station, proposed to be sited in the majority-African-American Banister District of Pittsylvania County.

MVP must not be given new permissions to pollute. Therefore, both the upcoming water and air permits for Mountain Valley Pipeline must be denied.

Since construction began, Virginia regulators have cited the fracked-gas pipeline for an unprecedented 300-plus violations of water quality. We know that the project’s protection measures have been insufficient and that the sedimentation into Southwest Virginia waterways will have a lasting and permanent impact.

Read more in the Richmond Times Dispatch November 25, 2021

Karen Campblin and Dr Samantha Ahdoot:

Opinion: On environmental justice, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is an old story

Karen Campblin is the environment and climate justice committee chair for the Virginia State Conference NAACP. Samantha Ahdoot is chair and co-founder of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Actions.

Here we go again.

It was only last year that a federal court ruled that the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board failed to consider whether a compressor station would unfairly burden a predominantly Black community.

The community was Union Hill in Buckingham County, Va., and the compressor station was designed to support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

This time, the community is in Pittsylvania County, Va., and the compressor station is supposed to support MVP Southgate, an extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

But even if you swap in new names, this is an old story.

Again, a pipeline company is proposing to build a compressor station that would pump tons of fine particulate pollution each year into a Virginia community of color. And once again, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board is considering whether to approve that project, despite the clear dangers it represents to Virginians’ health.

We should know. One of us, Karen Campblin, is the environmental and climate justice chair of the NAACP’s Virginia State Conference. The other, Samantha Ahdoot, is a pediatrician with expertise in how air quality affects human health.

We both have experience working with communities of color like the ones living near the Lambert Compressor Station proposed for Pittsylvania County.

We know that people of color suffer more from asthmaheart attacks and lung cancer, and we know that the fine particulate matter that the compressor station would emit would exacerbate these preexisting health conditions.

In fact, the station would further expose residents to neurotoxins such as hexane, carcinogens such as formaldehyde and fine particulates, a pollutant for which there is no known safe threshold.

And its impacts wouldn’t stop there. The pipeline that the Lambert Compressor Station would support carries methane, a greenhouse gas with 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Compressor stations intentionally vent methane into the air to relieve the pressure on gas pipelines. When Virginia is making efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the station that Mountain Valley Pipeline seeks to build would emit 125,000 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases each year alone.

In other words, it wouldn’t just worsen air quality; it also would contribute to climate change. And climate change, too, carries health risks. Heat-related illnesses, infectious diseases and food insecurity are all real and present health dangers thanks to our worsening climate — as are, of course, the illnesses associated with poor air quality.

By any measure, the compressor station would endanger people’s health — the health of people who can least afford it. The developer’s own consultant identified four communities near the station that meet “environmental justice community” parameters under the Virginia Environmental Justice Act.

Like the community at Union Hill, the majority-minority district in Pittsylvania County is the last place Mountain Valley Pipeline developers should be attempting to build. The compressor station is a major investment in fossil fuels that would last for decades, all while emitting climate-warming gases methane and carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere.

Virginia just committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030 and eliminating them all altogether by 2050. The Biden administration has gone further, calling for a carbon-free electricity grid by 2035. And the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we will not be able to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius unless there are immediate and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Why should the board greenlight a project that would do just the opposite?

The effects of climate change are already showing up in the exam rooms of pediatricians. It’s clear that projects such as the one Mountain Valley Pipeline is proposing will only exacerbate this growing crisis.

We urge the Air Pollution Control Board to deny the permit and protect the Black Virginians who would be most affected by the proposed compressor station.

To do otherwise would simply be deja vu.

Read the article at the Washington Post, November 26, 2021

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