By Jackson Revere
Virginia Pipeline Resisters were at the Capitol Tree-lighting event. See what they had to say about it below.
RICHMOND, Virginia– Activists from around the Richmond Region gathered at the Capitol to sing “No Pipelines carols” at the tree lighting ceremony. Attendees dressed in matching sweatshirts, designed in the style of tacky holiday sweaters and that read “NO PIPELINES DUMP DOMINION.”
The activists decided to sing carols at the lighting ceremony, where Governor Northam was in attendance, to continue to bring attention to Northam’s unjust support of the Mountain Valley (MVP) and Atlantic Coast (ACP) pipelines and his decision to remove two members from the Air Pollution Control Board, Rebecca Rubin and Sam Bleicher, before the Board reaches a critical verdict on Dominion’s Buckingham compressor station for the ACP. Northam did so directly after the two former Air Board members voiced concerns over environmental injustice and lack of necessity involved with the compressor station and appeared to threaten approval of Dominion’s air permit for the project. The Governor has claimed he removed Rubin and Bleicher simply because their terms were up, but it has since been revealed that 235 members of other boards are currently serving past their term expiration dates and that one of the replacements for the removed Air Board members, Kajal Kapur, said that it had been years since she had even submitted qualification for a position on the Air Board. The Governor has also since announced that the two incoming Air Board members will not be sworn in until after the next Air Board meeting, even stating on the WTOP radio show today that he “had no expectations from the time he made these new [Air Board] appointments that they would be voting [at the December meeting]” – this begs the question as to why Northam would not simply wait the few weeks until after the December meetings to remove Rubin and Bliecher unless he had the ulterior motive of serving Dominion’s interests.
The activists also called for the Governor to reinstate Bleicher and Rubin until after the December 10 meeting so that they are allowed to vote at the meeting. “It makes no sense that the Governor would remove Rubin and Bleicher from the Air Board before the December 10 meeting, especially now that we know he never expected new appointments to participate in that meeting. The only explanation can be that Northam removed them at the behest of Dominion Energy because the two threatened the corporation’s interests,” said Stacy Lovelace, co-founder of the Virginia Pipeline Resisters, the organizers of the action.
Carols sung at the action included verses like “No ACP, No MVP, Fracked gas pipelines bring tragedy” and “Reinstate O Reinstate, Sam Bliecher and Rebecca Rubin” to the tune of ‘O Christmas Tree’ and “Jingle bells, methane smells, Dominion owns our state. Oh what fun it would be to live in a less corrupted place” to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells.’