To the Editor
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has proposed that, in four years, a 550 mile natural gas pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, be built throughout Virginia. Although Virginia will house most of the pipeline, it will also travel through North Carolina and West Virginia. McAuliffe boasts that thousands of jobs will be created and sustained by this pipeline. He and Dominion Power both claim this pipeline is a result of rising energy demands by Virginians and an effort to tackle climate change and improve environmental health. If that is their mission, why are they trying to achieve it by building through national parks and mountain valleys, instead of focusing on renewable and actually environmentally friendly sources of energy? The best thing for Virginia’s future would be to become innovative and become entirely powered by wind, solar and biomethane energy.
The threat that this pipeline poses to Virginia’s environment should be enough to have it immediately shut down. According to Climate Progress, this pipeline will travel through the George Washington National Forest, the Allegheny Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Growing up in Virginia, some of my fondest memories include driving down the Shenandoah Valley to visit Luray Caverns and school field trips to the George Washington National Forest. We were always taught to take care of these incredible gifts that have been given to our state. Volunteering for park clean ups and planting flowers was always encouraged. The hydraulic fracturing that will most likely occur in these parks will destroy our landmarks and cause irreparable damage.
These beautiful environmental landmarks are a source of joy and pride for many Virginians. To threaten them with this pipeline is to threaten an integral part of being Virginian; therefore, we must find sources of energy that will preserve our land.
One of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s motivations for approving this
pipeline is to establish Virginia as a business friendly and innovative
state. What is more innovative than having the entire state rely on
wind, solar or biomethane energy? These sources of energy are given to us by the earth and are constantly being created, unlike natural gas. What happens after all the natural gas has been used up? Although that might not happen for a while, but that kind of short term thinking is what has many states still heavily reliant on coal and has left the environment in such a fragile state. In order to thrive, Virginia needs to look farther than the next 10 years into the future. Building solar power plants and wind turbines will establish Virginia as a leader in the clean energy movement. The building of these plants and turbines will create and sustain more jobs than this pipeline ever could or will. Businesses will be more likely to come to Virginia because of cheap, safe and reliable energy rather than limited, finite and controversial natural gas.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a short term answer to a long term issue. Building a pipeline that will travel through Virginia’s national parks, threaten the environment and create fewer jobs that wind or solar power would, seem like a pointless thing to do. We as Virginians should stand up and publicly oppose this pipeline, then fight for wind, solar and biomethane to be the only sources of energy that Virginia relies on.