RICHMOND, Virginia– Activists from around the Richmond Region gathered behind the Office of the Governor to draw attention to the escalating risks of climate change, which would be exacerbated by the potential Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines and the greenhouse gas emissions they would produce. The action marked eight months of weekly protests and letter deliveries to the Governor with zero response. These actions run parallel to Governor Northam’s continued unwillingness to visit those locations along the pipelines’ potential path and engage with affected communities directly.
The Virginians in attendance called attention to the necessary steps the Governor can and must take to help combat climate change in meaningful ways. A drafted letter was read over a loudspeaker which referenced the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The letter pointed out that the IPCC report found “the currently-stated goals to combat climate change are not enough – to limit warming to 1.5°C, drastic and immediate transformation is needed and “pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot involve a deep reduction in emissions of methane…””
In light of this alarming report, the letter to Governor Northam went on to say “The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines have been scientifically proven to be unnecessary and will not provide jobs, most certainly not the “high-demand, 21st-century” jobs you claim to want in your new energy plan. They will only help to accelerate the climate crisis we are faced with. It is ironic that you are a pediatric doctor, considering you back projects that threaten our children’s ability to have even a livable future on this planet. Our children deserve better from you.”
The activists followed the reading of the letter with chants, and a reading of a “How To Stop the Pipelines” checklist, created as a large sign and as a smaller version for inclusion with the letter delivery. The checklist encouraged Governor Northam to “Grow courage and a conscience, break up with Dominion Energy, stop lying about jobs and listening to the science/law, direct the DEQ to stop work immediately, call for the Water Board to revoke the permits and lastly, to be a real climate leader, not a pretend one.” The 8×11 version of the “How To List to Stop the Pipelines checklist” and a copy of the IPCC report were included in the letter for Governor Northam. The letter drafted to Governor Northam was then signed and delivered to a representative from Constituent Services.
Statement from Stacy Lovelace, co-founder of the event organizers, Virginia Pipeline Resisters: “Children and the generations to come, whose future is now in jeopardy, deserve so much better than the apathy and inaction of officials, like Governor Northam, that has allowed fossil fuel corporations to destroy so much of our Earth and put us in the truly dangerous climate predicament we are in today. It is unconscionable that the Governor would stand by, portraying himself as a climate leader no less, as corporations like Dominion and EQT willfully accelerate climate change, oppress communities and chip away at the possibility of a livable future on the planet.”