Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Protect State’s Environment

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Protect State’s Environment

If you are on the fence regarding your opinion on the moral imperative to stop future development of fracked gas in our Commonwealth, the following information should put you over the edge.

Environmental racism is being perpetuated in the proposal to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Many of the same folks who are outraged at the recent actions in Charlottesville are at the same time promoting a fracked-gas pipeline that would disproportionally harm people of color along its path. The single Virginia compressor station placement is to be located within a mile radius of an historically black community and the pipeline would be within 1,600 feet of the school and residences at the Yogaville Ashram in Buckingham County, Va. It will introduce serious health and safety risks to both of these communities in addition to lowering property values and quality of life.

The majority black community of Union Hill includes two churches, cemeteries and unmarked slave graves.

The Ashram, settled on land purchased in Buckingham County due to the clear air, pristine waters and unspoiled scenery, serves as one of the largest residential yoga instructor schools on the east coast as well as a place for guests to retreat, learn, and restore body and spirit. The Lotus Shrine honors the world’s religions is in danger of having its lake and aquifers polluted by pipeline construction.

The Monacan Nation of Nelson County voiced its “strong opposition” to FERC due to the pipeline’s potential impact on archaeological sites.

Pipelines are about more than air and water pollution; the taking of private land for corporate profit; mountain top destruction; and loss of habitat. Keep in mind that natural gas is primarily methane, which is around 30 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. And fracked methane leaks at every stage of production, processing, storage and distribution. Claims that burning natural gas is cleaner than coal disregard fracking’s overall contribution of CO2 and methane to our greenhouse gases and global warming. The accelerating rate of global temperature rise is unprecedented. Transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources now is our best hope to avert coastal flooding, mass extinctions, mass migrations, and an existential threat to humanity.

Please stand with me in insisting that Governor McAuliffe stop the proposed pipeline using his power and authority under the Clean Water Act. Insist that our legislators ban new fracked-gas infrastructure and that all of our candidates refuse campaign contributions from Dominion Power and other fossil fuel interests. Demand that our representatives from both parties stand up for our health and the health of the planet for future generations. Contact Governor McAuliffe at governor.virginia.gov and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at 1-800-592-5482.

Pam Tinker, BS, PT, MAIS