Activists from around the Richmond Region gathered behind the Office of the Governor to draw attention to the response of Governor Northam’s administration to the official letter from the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice regarding the racism and environmental injustice of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.
They also highlighted similar statements from the Administration cited in the Department of Environmental Quality’s announcement of the approval of construction plans for the Atlantic Coast pipeline. Further, the activists pointed out the completely false nature of the Administration’s claims of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s complete authority over the pipelines. The action marked over eight months of weekly protests and letter deliveries to the Governor, with zero response from the Administration or the Department of Natural Resources.
A list of false claims by the Administration were outlined in a letter to the Governor, read aloud over a loudspeaker. The letter contrasted lies given by the Administration with the truth, such as: “Your lie- “[We] remain dedicated to holding these projects to the highest environmental standards possible pursuant to state authorities…We have tasked the DEQ with ensuring that any permits for these projects provide a heightened level of protection for air and water quality, particularly in communities most impacted or vulnerable.” “Protecting Virginia’s environmental resources is one of our greatest priorities…The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s comprehensive review allows us to remain confident that these final construction plans will protect natural resources.”
[The} TRUTH- IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT THE PLANS HAVE BEEN PROVEN INADEQUATE. The ongoing violations and contamination happening along the MVP route is more than enough evidence. This contamination will happen along the ACP route. These violations have been repeatedly reported to your DEQ, yet your DEQ has not been monitoring or even responding to most of these violations, and most certainly have not provided a heightened level of protection.
Virginia water quality standards are already being violated, proving the pipelines are not and will not be held to the highest environmental standards possible in our state, even despite our state regulations being lax compared to many other states. Meanwhile, ACP is beginning construction with equally inadequate plans as the MVP and is moving forward with tree felling at the Buckingham Compressor Station site without having secured its air permit, which is based on a woefully inadequate draft plan. Clearly, Virginia’s environmental resources are not a priority – it appears the priority is submitting to Dominion’s orders.”
The activists followed the reading of the letter with chants and a delivery of the signed letter to two representatives from Constituent Services.
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