Activists Block Dominion Headquarters

For Immediate Release

Contact: Shantae Taylor

For Immediate Release

Activists Block Dominion Headquarters and Demand “Stop Selling Our Futures”

At 7:00 a.m. a group of over 50 activists blocked vehicle access to Dominion Resources’ Tredegar Campus in Richmond, Virginia to protest the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Traffic quickly formed on Tredegar Street as activists stretched large banners across the road and paraded large puppets around the scene. Two activists remain suspended from a pedestrian bridge with a banner reading “Stop Selling Our Futures” while a larger crowd occupy the access way to the campus below.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would transport natural gas from West Virginia, where there is a boom in hydraulic fracturing, 550 miles, through Virginia, and into North Carolina. “This proposal would be a dangerous investment in fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the scientific consensus is clear that we must invest in renewables, such as wind and solar, to avoid further warming of our planet. ” said Whitney Whiting from Newport News, Virginia.

This action follows several months of grassroots resistance in the region against Dominion. On February 3, an activist scaled a crane at a construction site for Dominion’s proposed Cove Point LNG export facilities in Lusby, Maryland. On February 9, activists with the group Beyond Extreme Energy staged a disruption at a Dominion analyst meeting in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, also with the message “Stop Selling Our Futures”.

Shantae Taylor from Norfolk, Virginia said, “As a person of color, I am out here because I am disturbed by the climate crisis in the Commonwealth. The Tidewater region is second only to Louisiana for its vulnerability to sea level rise. Now we’re facing the additional threat of offshore oil and gas drilling. I don’t want another Hurricane Katrina or BP oil spill to happen here. It’s time to push back against Dominion’s corrupt political influence and demand an end to fossil fuels.”

“I’ve been born and raised in Virginia, where we have pride in our land”, said Phil Cunningham, from Prince Edward County. “Now Dominion wants to come steal people’s property and sell our futures to the highest bidder. We are here to send the message to Dominion that people matter more than profits. This is our Keystone XL, and we will stop it. ”

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Open Letter of Invitation Sent out to Governor and Virginia State Legislators

We have invited Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia State Legislators to the Richmond People’s Climate March with the following Open Letter:

When: Monday February 23, 2015 at 7am (sunrise)
Where: Virginia State Capitol Grounds (home of General Assembly and Governors Mansion)
What: Richmond People’s Climate March and Call to Prayer

In the spirit of Love, Justice, and stewardship of our Earth, Richmond People’s Climate March are calling for our representatives to join us on Monday February 23 at 7am at the Virginia Capitol to sound the alarm on climate change and pray for the wisdom of our elected officials as they finalize legislation during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

In response to the growing global movement for climate and environmental justice, we must empower each other to create the changes we need. We will join arms and form a prayer circle as we ask for action by the Virginia State Legislature and Governor Terry McAuliffe and ask them to reverse their support of projects detrimental to our most vulnerable populations and our future generations.

We are asking the Governor and Legislators to join us in the prayer against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other pipelines bringing fracked natural gas through our state, the pending approvals on fracking in Virginia and the new proposals for offshore drilling on our beautiful coast.  They will have to choose to either stand with us or against us in this fight. This is the moral challenge of our generation and we ask you as our spokespersons in government to join us to turn the tide for Virginia. This will be a breathtaking ceremony during the sunrise featuring multicultural music, ceremonies and dance. For more information contact virginiapeoplesclimatemarch@gmail.com


Event Link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1440070879616653/

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor – Final

Author: Shantae Taylor

Date: 2/13/15

 

In response to:

 

Response to RTD article on Dominion Pipeline

http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/article_91d6d3a8-a2af-5ae4-9b07-8aa983859ae4.html

 

Letter to the Editor:

It is true that we must acknowledge the past and honor the heritage of those who have come before us. As we look at the environmental havoc invoked on the commonwealth since colonization, we should learn from those mistakes or we shall be doomed to repeat them. The Monacan tribe of Virginia has come out in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which is proposed to inch staggeringly close to ancient above-ground burial mounds, if not on top of them. A 75-ft wide path will clear-cut all life for 550+ miles. Currently 177,000 acres of land in George Washington Natural Forest are reserved for fracking. There are 3 other pipelines proposed in Appalachia, The Mountain Valley Pipeline, The Rover Pipeline, and the Leach Express. Together they will span over 1,000 miles and cost $15 billion. Pipelines have already caused over 10,000 accidents, 373 deaths, 1,422 injuries and over $6 billion in property damages.

According to research done by Dhyani Simonini, a member of the Eastern Lenape nation living in nearby Buckingham county, these burial mounds can be found from as early as the late Woodland period (approximately 900 A.D.). They can be found in high concentration in the Wingina region were monuments for  fifty to one hundred people buried there. A University of Virginia survey conducted in Nelson and surrounding counties, suggests that perhaps prehistoric sites from as early as 8,000 to 1,000 B.C. and as numerous as 62 per square mile can be found in Nelson county alone. Thomas Jefferson had been fascinated by these burial mounds when he watched Native Virginians pay respect to their friends and family buried there. Can you imagine a pipeline being built on or very near Jefferson’s burial site?

Similarly, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is expected to disrupt many cemeteries for enslaved peoples and their descendants. One article has pointed to at least 10 small lots (about 1-7 acres each), half of which can specifically be traced to a deed between 2 former enslaved people. Enslaved peoples were not always offered the same dignified burials as we see in places like Hollywood Cemetery and or respected with massive monuments like those we see  to Confederate generals on Monument Avenue. Instead, they were buried in segregated sites, often unmarked graves with maybe only a rock to designate them as a site of human remains. It is important to note that in 1860, approximately 45% of Nelson County’s population was black and moreover, there are many unmarked cemeteries for enslaved people and their descendants on this land.  Could we imagine a pipeline carrying fracked natural gas disturbing Hollywood Cemetery or Monument Avenue? What makes these sites less worthy of historical recognition? Do we really believe that #blacklivesmatter? Do we recognize and respect indigenous Virginians and the indigenous environmental movement in #idlenomore?

In this moment we must not only worry about the past, but also worry about current and future generations. Reverend James Rose, is from Nelson County and has seen Dominion ask permission to survey on the small plots of his friends and neighbors and has seen how African-American and low-income residents of Nelson county “have been targeted” and  could be disproportionately affected by the pipeline construction.We know that this is just not an issue about ecosystems, this is also an issue about the human life. Eminent Domain proves feudalism continues to exist –  where corporate and state interest collide to destroy communities. It has been the case since the arrival of John Smith. Recent projects, like interstate 95 that destroyed Jackson Ward in Richmond and paved over enslaved people’s burial grounds in Shockoe Bottom and the Trans Columbia pipeline spanning 4,800+ miles in Virginia, serve as monuments to ruined land, life, and liberty.If the Hampton Roads region is second only to coastal Louisiana for vulnerability to climate change, should we sit idly on the sidelines and wait for that same climate chaos to engulf Norfolk and surrounding areas? Should we wait for an oil spill off the coast or pipeline explosion in the mountains? Should we wait for a worsening of the asthma health disparity that disproportionately affects African-American and Native-American children, as we continue down this path of polluting the air with fossil fuels? Can’t we ask for something better?

The Southern Appalachia Mountains that run through Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina are one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world. Nearly 10,000 species are already known to exist here, Some of which reach their highest levels of diversity in the Southern Appalachians. Many species of trees, mosses, millipedes, spiders, moths, beetles, snails and fungi are found here and nowhere else in the world. In the span of only 400 years settlers have deforested 67% of Virginia’s land wiping out any resemblances of pre-colonial wildlife. Protected land makes up only 15% of the commonwealth’s total acreage. National and Federal parks are still subject to timbering and animal grazing. Ever since hurricane Camille in 1969 wiped out the hydroelectric dams we have seen interest in restoring the James River habitat. We must preserve what history and nature we have left. Building new pipelines, transmission towers, or anything through the remaining ‘wild’ proves the lack of stewardship that those in authority have for nature.

Industry wants to intimidate us with threats of power shortages or price hikes. Controlling 70% of electric customers in Virginia, gives Dominion a regulated monopoly status. They are able to command legislation being the largest contributor to both political parties in Virginia. Dominion currently leases 112,800+ acres of land in the ocean and received a $45 million grant for the department of energy to pursue wind power, but delayed wind development indefinitely. Instead of using $15 billion dollars to build pipelines, we could build 4,269 2MW Wind Turbines, which in turn could power 2.1 million households in the state of Virginia, or 80% of the state. 80% of the households in Virginia could run on clean, renewable energy. That will create jobs, and also keep our air cleaner. With wiser spending we can protect our biodiverse region and ensure renewable and clean energy security. Together we can build a greener future for the next generation. It’s time we ask, no demand, better from Dominion.

People are saying NO to the Atlantic Coast pipeline and all pipelines. We, the opposition, grow everyday. We are in your meetings listening and watching. We are in your communities advocating for change, we are in your places of worship connecting these issues to spirituality and most importantly we are in your families seeking to protect each other from climate chaos. Climate change threatens all life as we know it with a possible 100 years to extinction for humans. The pipeline cannot be built and we will not accept fracking in George Washington Forest or anywhere! We can not accept offshore drilling on the coast!

Join the resistance to fight for the conservation of history and land and most importantly, each other and our future generations!

I write in solidarity with all those resisting pipeline, fracking, tars sands,offshore drilling and things to come,

Shantae Taylor

on behalf of Richmond People’s Climate March and JusticeRVA

Press Release

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Shantae Taylor

(804) 728 0715

virginiapeoplesclimatemarch@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/vapeoplesclimatemarch

 Twitter: @No_ACP

Richmond People’s Climate March “Sounds the Alarm” on Climate Change in the Commonwealth and Announces Call to Prayer for Climate Stewardship

 

In the spirit of Love, Justice, and stewardship of our Earth, Richmond People’s Climate March are calling for leaders of local faith communities to converge on Monday February 23 at 7am at the Virginia Capitol to “Sound the Alarm” on climate change and pray for the wisdom of elected officials as they finalize legislation during the 2015 session of the General Assembly. A multi-cultural, inter-faith demonstration at sunrise will mark the beginning of the rally as legislators arrive to work. The people will greet legislators and ask them to spare a few solemn moments in prayer for a sustainable future.  With the help of indigenous tribal drum circle War Paint, the group will then Sound the Alarm on climate change in the commonwealth for our legislators and our Governor, signaling that Virginia is awake and watching in 2015.

 

At a time when the world’s leading scientists have repeatedly suggested phasing out fossil fuels within the next 15 years in order to mitigate rising sea levels and other effects of climate change, Virginia is doing less than the bare minimum to move toward a sustainable future. With Dominion’s political influence at an all-time high, Virginia communities from the coasts to the mountain valleys are taking the brunt of Dominion’s greed and inaction.  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will tear through generations of family homes and history, will increase the likelihood of soil and water contamination, gas explosions, and will accelerate greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, coastal communities in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and the Eastern Shore are second only to Louisiana in vulnerability to sea level rise, and now may face the additional threat of offshore oil and gas drilling.

 

Resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure continues to build across North America, from opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in the Midwest to the taking of Canadian indigenous land for tar sands extraction. It’s time to take action and connect the issues of racial, environmental and economic justice here in Virginia as well. The humanitarian crises that resulted from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy demonstrate how the effects of climate change disproportionately impact people of color and those of low economic status, especially as they intersect with continued racial injustice. People of conscience can not allow the burial sites of enslaved Africans in Nelson County to be dug up for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline nor let it pass over historic Indigenous burial mounds of this region. Further colonization and destruction of sacred land for the sake of corporate profit cannot be allowed. All Virginians have a chance to stand in solidarity with their Indigenous brothers and sisters in resistance of further fossil fuel devastation and demand a more equitable, sustainable world in its place.

 

In September 2014, 400,000 people marched in New York City, carrying with them a wave of momentum that continues to this day. 2015 is poised to be the year that the people power changes the conversation on climate chaos. In response to the growing global movement for environmental justice, the Richmond People’s Climate March will use this momentum to sound the alarm on climate change in the commonwealth and turn the tide toward a sustainable future for Virginia.

 

 

For more details search for “Richmond People’s Climate March” on Facebook, email: virginiapeoplesclimatemarch@gmail.com or call us at (804) 728 0715.

Direct Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440070879616653/

Twitter: @NoACP