Historic Union Hill Community Threatened By Atlantic Coast Pipeline


By Sammy DiDonato for Unicorn Riot – Dominion plans to build a large compressor station for the pipeline in Union Hill, a historic Black community founded by descendants of freed slaves in unincorporated Buckingham County near the Cumberland State Forest, west of Richmond. Local residents see the pipeline company’s disregard for their community as part of an established history of environmental racism in Virginia. “As African-Americans living in a county where racial inequality and retaliation have been facts of life for over 300 years, where many of their ancestors were enslaved, the community of Union Hill’s lack of access to political decision-making makes them vulnerable to Dominion Power’s corporate profit-making plans.” – Lakshmi Fjord, anthropologist and activist with Friends of Buckingham County. The kayak actions were carried out to call on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to not defer to the Army Corps of Engineers decision when issuing permits to projects that threaten water quality. Organizing groups included Friends of Buckingham County, Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Friends of Nelson County, and Yogaville Environmental Solutions. Friends of Buckingham County has been organizing around the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for three years.

Virginians Press Gubernatorial Candidate To Oppose Pipelines


By Staff of Beyond Extreme Energy – LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA–Virginia citizens against fracked gas pipelines send Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam nearly 300 “Hear Our Voice” postcards from Loudoun County. Kamie Bledsoe, environmental activist member of 350 Loudoun, started the post card campaign shortly after Tom Perriello lost the Democratic Primary. Tom Perriello came out against the new proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. But, Ralph Northam, despite taking the Hippocratic Oath in his training as a medical doctor, failed to oppose the pipelines and in an interview on a conservative radio station stated that governors cannot take a position against pipelines. Regrettably, Dr. Northam is mistaken. The governors of New York and Maryland have come out against fracked gas pipelines. In fact, Lieutenant Governor candidate Justin Fairfax and at least ¾ of candidates running for the VA House of Delegates have also come out against the pipelines. Dr. Northam’s position on pipelines is contrary to the National Democratic platform to promote renewable sources of energy.

Faith Leaders Protest Pipelines Statewide

Flickr/ Fibonacci Blue

By Staff of Augusta Free Press – In an unprecedented mobilization of clergy and other faith leaders, Virginia congregations turned out in seven cities today with music, prayer, and silence to honor recent hurricane victims while protesting Governor McAuliffe’s Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines for fracked gas. Kicking off two consecutive days of statewide protest, faith leaders gathered outside of seven regional Department of Environmental Quality offices in Richmond, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Virginia Beach, Abingdon, Glen Allen, and Woodbridge. Observers cannot recall such a large organized faith protest on any environmental issue in the history of Virginia. The action today set the stage for additional protests tomorrow where citizens in the same seven Virginia cities will deliver official letters of protest to the Governor’s DEQ offices representing regional concerns over the pipeline, from Northern Virginia, to the coast, to the mountains. In Richmond, two dozen activists are expected to peacefully “sit in” at the Virginia DEQ headquarters until arrested. At today’s event in Roanoke, Reverend Brad Delaney said: “This pipeline (Mountain Valley Pipeline) will create carbon emissions going into our environment. God created us as human beings to care for our home, which is God’s creation and by doing that to care for one another and particularly for the least and the last, those that are poor. So I come here today to stand for them.”

Leader Behind White Supremacist Rally In Charlottesville Was Literally Chased Out Of Town

Image via Getty/Win McNamee

By Kyle Neubeck for Complex – Watching a small, violent group of white supremacists storm through Charlottesville, Virginia was a painful reminder of just how deeply entrenched racism is in America. But even in these moments of darkness, there can be triumph of the human spirit, where your fellow countrymen remind you there are good people out there after all. As it turns out, you didn’t even have to leave Charlottesville to get that reminder this weekend. Jason Kessler, the organizer for the rally in Virginia this weekend, held a press conference on Sunday afternoon, ostensibly to try to salvage whatever screwed-up purpose he thought the rally might have to begin with. And then something amazing happened—the city of Charlottesville told him collectively to get the hell out. Giving him the Game of Thrones treatment, locals harassed Kessler with chants of “Shame!” as he approached his podium, not letting him off the hook for the death of Heather Heyer, who was murdered by a driver that aimed his car at a group of counter-protesters Saturday.

Charlottesville Was Not A “Protest Turned Violent,” It Was A Planned Race Riot

On August 12, White supremacists attacked counter-protestors at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

By Zenobia Jeffries for Yes! Magazine – In July of last year, after The New York post ran the headline, “CIVIL WAR: Four cops killed at anti-police protest,” I wrote the column “How We Report on Structural Racism Can Hurt Us—Or Heal Us.” I could have easily written the same article today. That column recalled the Kerner Report, the findings of President Johnson’s commission investigating the uprisings that occurred throughout 1967, to determine what happened and why, and to provide recommendations to prevent them from happening again. While reading and watching the news stories unfolding from the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, what I and many others are calling White nationalist race riots, I couldn’t help but recall the Kerner Report again. A fundamental criticism in the report was that news media had failed to analyze and report adequately on the many incidents of racial injustice in the United States. The report noted that the social ills, challenges, and grievances African Americans face were “seldom conveyed.” In considering the history of racism in this country, they wrote, “By and large, news organizations have failed to communicate to both their Black and White audiences a sense of the problems America faces and the sources of potential solutions.

Descendants Of Freed Slaves Fight For Their Land In The Amazon


By Nick Barrickman and Alex González for WSWS – Local residents inform the International Amazon Workers Voice that Amazon is attempting to seize 50 acres of land owned by elderly working class descendants of slaves in Northern Virginia, pave over the residents’ homes, and build power lines. The soil that Amazon plans to cover with asphalt contains the sweat of slaves and the blood of Civil War soldiers. The residents’ ancestors, who worked the land as slaves, took possession of these plots after being freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and liberated by the Union Army during the American Civil War. American capitalism has come full-circle: the government is stealing land from the descendants of slaves and giving it to one of the world’s most powerful corporations. A representative of a community group called the Alliance to Save Carver Road (ASCR) told the IAWV, “The homeowners have been there for generations. Many of the properties were purchased by freed slaves. After emancipation, the slaves that worked that area were allowed to purchase property. A number of the property owners are descendants of those freed slaves.” Last month, Amazon subsidiary VAData, working in collusion with local government agencies and utility company Dominion Virginia Power, announced plans to construct 230,000 volt power lines running through the semi-rural community of Carver Road just outside of Gainesville, in order to power nearby internet data centers.

Anti-Pipeline Hikers Celebrate End Of Route With Church Service

David Wassenaar | Facebook

By Pete DeLuca for NBC 29 – Sunday, anti-pipeline hikers reached the end of the line on their two-week trek following the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline across the Shenandoah Valley and central Virginia. The hikers celebrated the completion of their travels by joining supporters for a special Sunday service at Union Hill Baptist Church in Buckingham County. Members of this church say their community stands to lose a lot if the pipeline is built. Cheering and applause greeted the small group of activist walkers as they approached the small church Sunday. They completed a 16-day, 150 mile hike in what was billed as ‘Walking the Line: Into the Heart of Virginia.’ “The whole walk was supposed to be a celebration, a celebration of the land, of the people, what exists here, not a protest, not a fight against something, because when you fight against something you create more of what you’re fighting against,” Lee White of Walking the Line said. The anti-pipeline activists walked the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from where it would cross the Virginia and West Virginia border to Buckingham County, the proposed location of one of the pipeline’s three compressor stations. “This church, our community, is undeniably against the pipeline and the compressor station,” Pastor Paul Wilson of Union Hill Baptist Church said.

Torch-Carrying White Nationalists Protest Removal Of Confederate Statue

Flickr/ jamieskinner00

By Lydia O’Connor for The Huffington Post – White nationalists protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, stormed two of the city’s parks on Saturday chanting Nazi slogans and brandishing torches. Dozens of protesters led by white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered in Jackson Park on Saturday afternoon and assembled again that night in the city’s Lee Park, where they took up torches and surrounded the statue of Confederate general Lee slated for removal by the city council, according to reporters on the scene. The protesters chanted “You will not replace us,” “Russia is our friend,” “All white lives matter” and the Nazi slogan “Blood and soil,” MSNBC reported. Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer (D) condemned the protest, both lashing out at Spencer on Twitter and issuing a statement against the group’s intimidation tactics.

Reportback From The Dominion Shareholders Meeting


By Staff of We Are Cove Point – Dominion held its annual shareholders meeting yesterday in Richmond, Virginia. A couple of Calvert County residents active with We Are Cove Point and other allies went inside the meeting. Here’s one person’s account of what it was like to be inside: People started gathering outside the Greater Richmond Convention Center around 8 a.m. to show our displeasure with Dominion as shareholders began to arrive for the meeting. People held signs and banners between where shareholders would enter to park their cars and where they could enter on foot. Dominion put up black curtains inside the convention center to hide us from being seen by shareholders once they were inside, but we were pretty impossible to miss before that point. Around 8:45, a number of us with tickets left to go inside the meeting. We presented our tickets and IDs to four layers of security before we were given our name tags and meeting materials. At that point, we were left to mingle until the meeting room opened at 9:30. Light refreshments were available, and private security was all around. It was a good opportunity to meet other people who had concerns with Dominion and rub elbows with Dominion insiders.

Virginia Activists Inspired by Recent Victories Over Pipelines


By Mark Hand for DC Media Group – Facing long odds, residents of southwest and central Virginia remain confident their organizing efforts will lead to victories over pipeline companies that want to seize their land through eminent domain to build major natural gas transmission lines. Virginia has a reputation as a business-friendly state where politicians do the bidding of major corporate players with little resistance from its citizenry. But residents who live along proposed pipeline routes have grown tired of their voices being ignored.

Fairfax Board Pledges To Weigh ‘Equity’ When Making Decisions

Fairfax board of supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (Tom Jackman)

By Antonio Olivo for The Washington Post – Virginia’s largest jurisdiction resolved Tuesday to approach decisions surrounding police, schools and even land-use through a prism of racial and social equity. A resolution unanimously approved by Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors aims to address disparities in the county of 1.1 million residents by allocating more funds in some areas and considering the importance of diversity in hiring and other decisions.

VA Employees, Veterans, Fight Hospital Closures


By Staff of AFGE – They march. They chant. They hold signs that read “Keep the promise to our vets” and “VA cares about vets.” Veterans and VA employees are furious that Congress is considering shutting down VA hospitals – their community – and sending them to for-profit private hospitals that don’t have what it takes to treat their unique needs born out of war. To put a spotlight on this terrible betrayal of veteran’s trust, they’re holding dozens of rallies outside VA hospitals across America to protest plans to sell veterans’ health care to the lowest bidder and shut down VA medical centers.

BXE Hijacks Stage At VA Energy Policy Forum

Activists demand that the COP20 government delegates approve measures to foment investment in renewable energies and eliminate their huge subsidies for fossil fuels. Credit: Joshua Wiese/IPS

By Staff of Beyond Extreme Energy – Activists from Beyond Extreme Energy interrupted the Virginia Energy Policy Forum in Hampton today to dramatize forcefully our conviction that current policies of the U.S. government, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion Resources and others represented at the event are wrong-headed and dangerous. As U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was addressing the forum, BXEers Steve Norris and Lee Stewart walked in front of the stage carrying a banner that said: “NO LNG EXPORTS.” and “Guys, we ain’t asking … Clean Energy Now.”

Virginia issues violation notice to Dominion for spill

Anti-fracking activists marched in front of Dominion Energy’s annual shareholder meeting in February to the tune of the Imperial March. (We Are Cove Point)

By Staff of Associated Press – RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia environmental regulators are issuing a notice of violation to Dominion Virginia Power for a mineral oil spill that fouled a portion of the Potomac River in northern Virginia. The notice issued Friday by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is a first step to ensure that Dominion is held accountable for the Feb. 3 spill. It could lead to civil penalties, corrective actions and reimbursement for cleanup costs.

DUMP DOMINION: A March For Our Rivers!

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By Staff of NO ACP – Over 700 folks joined us on this beautiful sunny Saturday! This was the largest anti Dominion protest in VA history! We can’t thank the attendees, the arrestees and our wonderful team of point people and liaisons enough. We have more love for you all than we ever have. We came to our state capitol to challenge the toxic relationship between Dominion, Governor McAuliffe, DEQ, and our legislators. The rally was full of insightful and intersectional speakers that enlightened us to Dominion’s overreach, green-washing, eco-racism, eco-feminism, Appalachian resistance history, and much more.