Faith Leaders' Sign-On Letter: Environmental Justice

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice League, and our partners are marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by delivering a sign-on letter to Governor Ralph Northam from lay leaders and clergy in opposition to the pipelines. Won't you join us by signing on?


If we show up and speak up, we will move towards the ethical, moral, just, and sound solutions the climate crisis urgently demands. We must demand that the most impacted among us benefit from climate solutions such as economic transition assistance, job training programs, and adaptation assistance in Hampton Roads. Please see the letter below and fill out the form to sign on at


Dear Governor Northam,

The Rev. Dr. King said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere—we cannot remain silent while our neighbors’ property is unjustly seized for private gain, drinking water vital for all life is endangered, many of our most vital natural areas are slated for destruction, and while people of color and low-income communities bear the brunt of this assault.

It is fitting that on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., that we, the undersigned faith leaders from across the commonwealth, raise a clarion call to environmental justice and sacredness of life. We are writing to inform you of our strong opposition to the impending construction of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

At a time when global climate change is accelerating even more rapidly than predicted, and the lack of availability of clean water is becoming a crisis in communities across the United States, committing to a long-term investment in fossil fuel infrastructure that exacerbates both problems is not only immoral, but also unwise and threatens the health of Virginians.

The costs of climate change, pollution, and commonly occurring pipeline leaks and breaks are felt by all Virginians. But, their direct social and economic costs are health impacts to air, water, and land, loss of land values and rights, forced most often upon communities of color and low-income rural communities with the least political power and histories of discrimination. The proposed Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines routes continue this trend of environmental injustice, as evidenced by the decision to site the only ACP Virginia compressor station on former slave plantation lands surrounded on all sides by the populous, 85% African American, historic Freedmen community of Union Hill in Buckingham, Virginia.

In addition to these costly consequences, we are disturbed by the anti-democratic process by which these unnecessary pipelines were approved. We regret that many politicians have chosen a path of climate science denial and obstructionism, and make backroom deals with powerful fossil fuel companies even as their destructive effects are already being felt by Virginians every day—we do not believe you are one of those politicians.

There is another path forward for Virginia: we can invest in pollution-free, renewable infrastructure that will create new jobs, support our energy independence, and protect our land and all of our citizens for generations to come. We can sustain landowners with monthly solar lease compensation rather than eminent domain condemnations for pipelines that can destroy current agricultural uses, for a forced one-time easement payment. Join other leaders to build a legacy of clean energy and dignity of life, instead of committing Virginia to an unnecessary, dangerous, and polluting infrastructure. We urge you to do the right thing and reject the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.


Rev. Paul Wilson, Union Hill/Grove Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, Chair, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Rev. Dr. Lakshmi Fjord, Integral Yoga Minister, Friends of Buckingham
Rev. Sherman Logan, First Unitarian Universalist Richmond
Rev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church
Rev. Don Lansky, Unity of Charlotteseville
Rev. Dr. MarQuita Carmichael, Antioch Baptist Church Susan
Dr. Lynne Caldwell, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University
Rev. Dr. Elisha Burke, Virginia Baptist General Convention
Rev. Douglass Forrester, Reveille United Methodist Church
Steven Tabscott, Augusta Friends Worship
Pam P Marraccini, Order of Interbeing with Thich Nhat Han
Natalie Pien, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun
Rosina Snow, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Rev Dr. Jonathan Barton, Virginia Council of Churches
Rev. Richard Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
Rev. Marion Kanour, Grace Episcopal Church, Massies Mill
Steven Tabscott, Augusta Friends Worship Group
Rev. William Stewart, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Colleen Montgomery, Holy Trinity Lutheran
Rev. Sandra Wisco, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev Dr Jean Wright, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
Rev. Matt Bowman, Maysville Presbyterian Church
Melissa Woeppel, Peace Lutheran Church
Marsha White, Accotink UU Church
Ramona Sanders, Interfaith Association of Harrisonburg-Rockingham
Rev. Brian Bolton, Shalom Mennonite Congregation
Rev. Kirk Ballin, Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Jennifer Davis Sensenig, Community Mennonite Church
Rev. Mark Keller, Harrisonburg Mennonite Church

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I would like to attend the press conference and delivery in Richmond.
Location, date and time: Richmond (Bell Tower Capitol Grounds), Wednesday, April 4, 11AM
I would be willing to speak at the press conference and/or delivery in Richmond.
Can you reach out to other faith leaders about signing on to the letter?
Would you be willing to meet with Virginia decision-makers about environmental justice and our moral responsibility to care for Creation?
I would like to talk to a representative from VAIPL about how my faith community can get further involved in caring for Creation.
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