In announcing his “redemption tour,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam stated: “Virginia needs someone...who has empathy, courage and a moral compass.” May Northam begin by ending a toxic, noisy ACP compressor station targeted for African-American Union Hill, then hear many grievances long-borne by Virginia’s African-Americans.
Genuine listening would be a transformation for Northam who has been stone-deaf to loud outcries over pipeline injustices. He wants forgiveness while his pipelines destroy water and land resources for regions and generations of Virginians.
After calling for the science on pipelines, Northam ignored the advice of six experts who responded and warned on May 16, 2018, that Virginia’s steep slopes cannot safely support MVP. Now, we learn in a filing by the Indian Creek Watershed Association to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Dec. 21, 2018 that within months of beginning construction, MVP requested from FERC a major, environmentally-harmful variance for stream crossings, admitting that their plan “...did not take site-specific constructability issues (elevations, terrain, and workspace) into account...” ( https://www.ratc.org/new-proof-entire-mountain-valley-pipeline-project-based-on-known-falsehoods/).
MVP essentially confessed that only the Clean Water’s Act 401 “stream-by-stream” certification would address individual crossing complications — something Northam promised in a primary debate but then abandoned. FERC granted MVP’s reckless variance without legally-required public notice or comment — confirming MVP’s bait-and-switch maneuver at the expense of Virginians’ water resources and without the State Water Control Board’s (SWCB) knowledge at its August 21, 2018 meeting, by which time 401 revocation was long-justified. Virginians need protections from FERC’s abusive actions.
MVP’s right-of-way across Virginia’s Blue Ridge is now a 100-mile long destruction zone — muddying hundreds of streams, where pristine Virginia waterways previously flowed. Tasked with DEQ oversight, the SWCB must act.
If MVP ever carries gas, it will eventually deteriorate, leaking fracked gas residues of lead, heavy metals and radioactive matter into our watersheds. The gas industry has targeted poor, politically weak rural Appalachia to be a sacrifice zone. Some will lose their water and others their lives. While imposing this handicapped future, Northam seeks forgiveness?
Northam’s pipelines obsession rips through the heart of communities. Water-protectors are criminalized and environmentally-protective board members are removed while Northam, DEQ’s David Paylor, and A.G. Mark Herring (Virginia’s “Boondoggle Trio”) remain to aid and abet a criminally-negligent MVP while it rapes our environment.
Neither has Northam led by example. While calling for campaign finance reform, he accepts corporate donations — the juggernaut of American political corruption. Northam “hears” EQT’s $50,000 “donation” loud and clear but remains deaf to clear scientific warnings, public outcry over pipelines and Earth’s climate emergency. ACP and MVP constitute a multi-decades investment in greenhouse fuels that drastically raises Virginia’s methane output and suppresses renewable energy investment.
Governor: You are ill-advised. You want forgiveness without giving up your pet Virginia double-boondoggle pipelines! You say “No one better than a doctor to heal Virginia” but your pipelines are an open running sore and scandalous violation of “First, do no harm!” by you --Virginia’s so-called “Doctor-Governor.” Your DEQ chief Paylor protects pipelines over Virginians! Fire David Paylor who accused a SWCB member of “working for the opposition!” Then repair the unprotective, corporation-colluding culture of DEQ. You are on the wrong side of history. Re-align yourself with justice.
Virginia’s civil lawsuit documents 300 MVP violations and MVP is under EPA criminal investigation--together providing ample evidence to revoke MVP’s water certification, which requires “reasonable assurance that water quality be protected.” Where is “due process”? God help our streams if MVP regains cancelled permits. We demand Virginia’s protection from FERC’s abuse.
The longer Northam’s administration tolerates MVP’s ever-mounting wrongdoings, the clearer it becomes that Virginia’s “boondoggle trio” is conspiring to sacrifice Virginians’ future for the benefit of unneeded venture-capital pipelines.
Virginia’s SWCB voted Dec. 7, 2018 to reconsider MVP’s 401 water certificate. Despite overwhelming evidence of violations, criminality, fraud and agency collusion, Virginia’s “Boondoggle Trio” has such contempt for Virginians, their natural resources, due process, and the law, that they prioritize MVP’s construction deadline over work stoppage for Virginians’ safety. DEQ’s slow-walking of SWCB’s 401 reconsideration allows hell-bent MVP to continue trenching and laying pipe — constructing perhaps the most dangerous pipeline ever for explosive power, shoddy construction and unstable terrain. The SWCB’s March 1 meeting is slated for “discussion of process,” but may it lead to an immediate stop-work order and permanent revocation of MVP’s Virginia water permit!
To quote Northam’s fired Virginia Air Pollution Board member, Rebecca Rubin, “If you cannot lead with the environment and justice in this day and age, then you cannot lead at all!”
Gov. Northam — are you listening? Courageous actions would speak even louder.