How did we manage to accomplish so much? Thanks to 7 years of organizing and collaborating with friends and allies that we have forged in this epic work of fighting the ecological crisis. We are grass roots, all volunteer and fiercely dedicated to championing our communities; protecting our land, water, and air from the ravages of short sighted selfish greed. Our list of accomplishments:
- Monthly member calls with the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative:
– Provided mapping information on EJ communities through interviews with community members in three Buckingham communities.
– Provided monthly reports during zoom meetings on Gold and Metal Mining and impacts to vulnerable communities.
– Attended zoom meetings with The Department of Environmental Quality to promulgate environmental justice policies and meaningful community involvement in all permitting processes.
- Continued to provide support for Mountain Valley Pipeline resistance through comments, signed petitions and direct actions.
- Weekly, bi weekly or monthly calls with allies working on common goals.
- Formed partnerships with Virginia Community Rights Network and Virginia Conservation Network.
- Created a Covid-safe online FOB zoom account
- Provided newsletters for 1300+ subscribers
- Held bi-monthly Council meetings
- Provided comments or/and testimony to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) through collaborations with other FERC reform groups.
- Provided outreach coordination for weatherization projects spear headed by Bridging the Gap in Virginia.
- Coordinated community members’ participation in interviews for professional documentary by Appalachian Voices.
- Signed onto Southern Environmental Law Center legal briefs submitted to FERC regards restoration of Atlantic Coast Pipeline easements.
- The gold campaign took the bulk of our energy and focus this past year. Kenda Hanuman and Stephanie Rinaldi are co-chairs of the FoB gold committee.
– A local campaign was organized by Hanuman, 20 tabling events in the Buckingham community and surrounding counties, wrote letters to the editor, made calls to Call WFLO, the local radio station, and started a door to door education information and petition campaign.
– Yard signs, bumper stickers and pins were created and distributed at tabling events.
– Large maps of the Buckingham former metallic mines were created, with thanks to Dan Shaffer of ABRA, of which we are members. Dan is a geo spatial consultant. These are used at tabling events.
– Two videos were produced and can be accessed through the FOB website and FOB FaceBook page.
– An educational webinar was offered through zoom. This is also on the website and the FOB & FaceBook page.
– Partnership with Virginia Community Rights Network on pushing out a petition to gather support for a local Buckingham ordinance that addresses our right to protect ourselves from toxic trespass and protect our water air and health.
– A state wide petition was also created to support state legislation to pause metallic mining permitting while the NASEM studies the impacts to Virginia and the adequacy of our laws to protect our water, land, air.
– Public comments on the exploratory gold drilling by Aston Bay Holdings were provided by FOB members at the Buckingham
– Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Hearings.
– The state gold coalition campaign was successful in getting passed HB 2213 in January that requires a study, headed up by the National Academy of Science on the impacts of gold mining in Virginia and to assess the capacity of current regulations to protect the public health and welfare. Nominations for committee members were submitted by state gold coalition committee members. They were not accepted by the state study committee. Current work is addressing the unbalanced and biased composition of the study committee members.
– The gold coalition is planning another bill for the 2022 General Assembly to address a moratorium of the permitting industrial mining of metals.
– FOB co authored a policy page regarding protecting Virginia’a environment and public health from industrial gold mining in the Virginia Conservation Network environmental policy book. It was also presented in an online educational event and during a legislative review. Hanuman and Stephanie will present to the NASEM study state committee on December 15.