The irony of Gov. Ralph Northam announcing the broadband expansion into Franklin County on the very site where Roanoke Gas will tap into the Mountain Valley Pipeline was not lost by protesters on the scene. The broadband need is understood, yet it is inconceivable Northam was in Franklin County while not surveying the MVP damage nearby, and that breaks my heart. Note some problems encountered by landowners:
-A 120-foot section of pipe floating (about a year) in water in a trench on Anne and Steve Bernard’s property. The Bernards worry this could weaken the joints. Mountain Valley Watch notes about a dozen similar situations. (Roanoke.com, June 15).
-The Reilly’s Four Corners Farm closed (2018) when their land was devastated by MVP/flooded, with a section of pipe in water. (Roanoke.com, June 15). Photographs show Little Teel Creek, formerly clear, now is a muddy river.
-MVP has 300+ violations of environmental regulations and faces a lawsuit from Attorney General Mark Herring.
Why has Northam continued this disastrous project, still showing unwillingness to listen to landowners’ problems? Citizens see this Gordian Knot; corporate money/corruption controlling government that must be addressed to deal with this and many other societal problems. Here are some corruption examples:
-Northam called for ending all corporate campaign donations statewide during his campaign/during office has done nothing regarding such a ban. (Richmond.com, December 21, 2018). On June 29, the Northam gubernatorial committee accepted $10,000 from MVP LLC. Since he is not eligible for re-election, what will these funds be used for?
-EQT (corporation funding MVP) gave $25,000 to candidate Northam/$25,000 to the Northam Inaugural Campaign (Vpap.com). Northam accepted $50,000 from Dominion for his inauguration. (Roanoke.com, December 22, 2017).
-Northam says he is “committed” to racial equity while ignoring the plight of the Union Hill/African-American community where Dominion plans on building a methane producing compression station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Talk is cheap. In future elections Virginians need candidates throughout government, particularly a governor, who will take action to end corrupt corporate campaign donations and who will lead in building racial equality. It breaks my heart to see pain inflicted upon our neighbors by a governor who cares not for us but for big money.