Statewide actions include two events in the Richmond area
RICHMOND, VA– Across Virginia, communities are taking part in a Day of Action for a New Economic Climate. A new coalition of concerned communities is forming to challenge investments in the fossil fuel industry, and especially dirty infrastructure projects like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. Invest Virginia is a group of organizations from the mountains to the coast demanding economic investment in community led initiatives instead of continued investment in dirty industry with no regard for the health and safety of our people and communities.
Today at noon there will be demonstrations in several communities across Virginia including in the Richmond area: one in downtown Richmond and one in Midlothian in Chesterfield County. Other locations across the state include Big Stone Gap, Roanoke, Salem, Leesburg and more.
The action in downtown Richmond will be held outside of the Bank of America Building at 1111 East Main Street and will include activists holding signs, chanting, reading from a recent climate change report and delivering a letter encouraging divestment. Bank of America is one of the primary funders for the dangerous Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipeline projects and spent over $13 billion in fossil fuel funding between 2015-2017 despite the climate crisis and health impacts of fossil fuel infrastructure.
The Bank of America building not only houses the bank, but also houses the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) headquarters. The DEQ has long had a history of failing to adequately protect Virginia communities from fossil fuel pollution, like coal ash, and has openly supported the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines despite a wealth of evidence proving that the pipelines are unnecessary and harmful to Virginia’s water and communities. Currently, the DEQ refuses to issue a stop work order for construction of the Mountain Valley pipeline despite over 300 violations and a criminal investigation. By renting space from Bank of America, the DEQ is sending the money of Virginia taxpayers to a financial institution that is funding the disastrous pipelines that would cause irreparable damage to Virginia’s communities, water, environment, and climate.
The action in Midlothian will be held outside of the Wells Fargo at 13530 Midlothian Turnpike. Wells Fargo is also a primary funder of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines as well as other dangerous fossil fuel projects across the country. Between 2015-2017, Wells Fargo spent over $4 billion on funding for fossil fuels. This action will include activists holding signs and a letter delivery as well.
Both actions will promulgate the statewide message to financial institutions to stop supporting harmful fossil fuel projects, like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, and call for investment in renewable energy and other projects beneficial to Virginia’s environment, health, and economy instead.
From Jessica Sims, Community Outreach Coordinator, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter: “We are at a critical point in fighting climate change and new, dangerous, polluting fossil fuel infrastructure pushes us in the wrong direction. Financial institutions must divest from projects that actively harm our communities and environment.”