Stand for equality and clean energy
Published 10:21 pm Monday, October 21, 2019
To the editor:
Re: “Delaying pipeline denies opportunity,” letter to the editor, published Sept. 24.
We hear that pipelines will answer Virginia’s supposed energy needs, an opinion often stemming from the interests of the wealthy fossil fuel industry.
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Homeowners along the route have already seen and experienced many safety issues and greater than anticipated environmental damage during the current building processes of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This reinforces our certainty that building these will cause irreparable harm.
There is little to no evidence that these pipelines will bring in permanent new local jobs, especially for those who are currently unemployed, as has been claimed by pipeline advocates. Dominion’s own lead engineer estimates the number of permanent jobs for the entire ACP to be about two dozen. MVP indicates that it expects to provide 34 permanent positions.
These are transmission pipelines; they are not designed to bring energy to local communities. Dominion estimates the cost of a tap would be $5 million to $8 million, which will prohibit affordable access. Buckingham County has had the Transco pipeline for more than 50 years, but no local company is able to afford the distribution infrastructure required to access the natural gas. The MVP tap for Roanoke Gas is in Montgomery County, but the people who live closest to it do not have gas service. They do not intend to serve low-income people or the communities that they run through on their way to areas where they can make money!
Pipeline companies try to make the argument that property values increase when pipelines arrive. Yet, real estate agents have noticed that properties close to the proposed pipeline have seen at least a 10-percent reduction in their values while remaining on the market longer than other properties. In Buckingham County, properties have stayed on the market for three years with 30-percent reductions in their listing prices. Further, two families along the MVP have lost their farms’ organic certification due to pipeline construction, significantly reducing their income and forcing one to close.
A main point of contention over these pipelines is that they intend to cross the Appalachian Trail. Pipeline advocates often cite existing infrastructure that crosses the Appalachian Trail, but this was done decades ago and had less of an environmental impact. We support the continued protection of our public land from projects that have great potential to damage them.
The ACP and MVP continue a long trend of environmental injustice, as evidenced by the decision to site the only ACP Virginia compressor station in a community founded by formerly enslaved people on historic plantation lands. It’s surrounded by a well-populated community which is 83 percent African American in Union Hill, in Buckingham.
There is another path forward for Virginia: we can invest in pollution-free, renewable infrastructure that will create at least 50,000 new jobs in our state’s solar industry, far more than the antiquated fossil fuel industry is projected to bring. We can sustain landowners with monthly solar lease compensation rather than one-time payments. We can build a legacy of clean energy and dignity of life, instead of committing Virginia to an unnecessary, dangerous and polluting infrastructure.
Climate change is accelerating even more rapidly than predicted. These pipelines will exacerbate the problem which is immoral, unwise and threatens the health of Virginians. We urge you to stand for equality and real sustainable progress by opposing the harmful Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.
Rev. Dr. Ray McKenzie Jr.
Gravel Hill Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Anthony L. Fludd
St. John’s Church of God in Christ
Pastor Chris Lee
East End Fellowship
Rev. Rodney Hunter
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Pastor Morris Fleischer
Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church
Pastor Mark F. Hoggard
St. Pius X Catholic Church
Rev. Jennifer Davis Sensenig
Community Mennonite Church
Integral Yoga Monastic
Rev. Don Lansky
Integral Yoga Monastic
Rev. Marion Kanour
Grace Episcopal Church
Rev. Bharati Gardino
Buckingham: We the People
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud
Turning the Wheel
Chad Oba and Irene Leech
Friends of Buckingham
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light