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 https://goo.gl/forms/dP1WdSiQZIq3GpSy2.
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 ChurchRev. Dr. Faith Harris, Chair, Virginia Interfaith Power & LightRev. Dr. Lakshmi Fjord, Integral Yoga Minister, Friends of BuckinghamRev. Sherman Logan, First Unitarian Universalist RichmondRev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist ChurchRev. Don Lansky, Unity of CharlottesevilleRev. Dr. MarQuita Carmichael, Antioch Baptist Church SusanDr. Lynne Caldwell, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union UniversityRev. Dr. Elisha Burke, Virginia Baptist General ConventionRev. Douglass Forrester, Reveille United Methodist ChurchSteven Tabscott, Augusta Friends WorshipPam P Marraccini, Order of Interbeing with Thich Nhat HanNatalie Pien, Unitarian Universalist Church of LoudounRosina Snow, Wesley Memorial United Methodist ChurchRev Dr. Jonathan Barton, Virginia Council of ChurchesRev. Richard Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common GoodRev. Marion Kanour, Grace Episcopal Church, Massies MillSteven Tabscott, Augusta Friends Worship GroupRev. William Stewart, Evangelical Lutheran Church in AmericaRev. Colleen Montgomery, Holy Trinity LutheranRev. Sandra Wisco, Evangelical Lutheran Church in AmericaRev Dr Jean Wright, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions Rev. Matt Bowman, Maysville Presbyterian Church Melissa Woeppel, Peace Lutheran ChurchMarsha White, Accotink UU ChurchRamona Sanders, Interfaith Association of Harrisonburg-RockinghamRev. Brian Bolton, Shalom Mennonite CongregationRev. Kirk Ballin, Unitarian Universalist Rev. Jennifer Davis Sensenig, Community Mennonite ChurchRev. Mark Keller, Harrisonburg Mennonite Church