Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

Editor: Hurricane Dorian is devastating evidence that climate change is real and is happening now.  In the Atlantic, there was at least one Category 5 hurricane in each of the past 4 years, setting a record. Each new climate change study reveals that it is occurring more rapidly than previous estimates. 

            We have no more than 10 years to avert uncontrollable global warming and subsequent climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions must dramatically decrease everywhere. But in Virginia, we are headed in the wrong direction. Virginia has two proposed new fracked gas pipelines, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, MVP, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, ACP.  The ACP alone will double Virginia’s emissions.

            Virginia must get on the right course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These extremely controversial new pipelines are not needed and cannot be allowed to be built and put into service. Both are plagued and/or delayed by legal battles in federal court. If Virginia were to be sued, Attorney General Mark Herring has repeatedly told pipeline opponents that it will be his duty to defend the state against any such suits. He has not always held such an unwavering conviction. With regard to Virginia’s ban on same sex marriage, “As attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians’ rights,” Herring said. “The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied.”

            In December, 2018, AG Herring filed civil suit against the MVP for over 300 violations of Virginia’s Water Quality Standards. Why will Herring defend the State Water Control Board, SWCB, for the water permit that allows violations of Virginia’s Water Quality standards? Won’t he side with the plaintiffs?  If not, why not?

            In August, 2018, the governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice wrote, “The Union Hill Compressor Station in Buckingham County required for the ACP may have a disproportionate impact on this predominantly African-American community and could be perceived as exhibiting racism in siting, zoning and permitting decisions and public health risk.”  

            Based on these findings, the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP filed a lawsuit to halt the ACP in October, 2018.  Why will AG Herring defend the Air Pollution Control Board for the Buckingham Compressor Station Air Permit, a permit that will disproportionately impact the African American, Freedmen founded community of Union Hill? Won’t he side with the plaintiffs? If not, why not?

            The pipelines have not been completed or put into service. It is not too late for AG Mark Herring to come out on the right side of history, just like he did for same sex marriage and so many other issues. The pipelines issue is just as, if not more, important.

Natalie Pien, Leesburg

22 thoughts on “Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

  • 2019-09-05 at 3:40 pm

    “In August, 2018, the governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice wrote, “The Union Hill Compressor Station in Buckingham County required for the ACP may have a disproportionate impact on this predominantly African-American community and could be perceived as exhibiting racism in siting, zoning and permitting decisions and public health risk.””

    What impact are we talking about? There’s a bunch of compressor stations in the county, some of them close to existing neighborhoods (not predominantly African-American).

    I’ve never heard any of them being a problem. Why is anybody bringing race into the picture here? This is insane. When did it become racist to build one of those?

    “These extremely controversial new pipelines are not needed”

    I’m not familiar with the pipeline projects but… I’ll go out on a limb here and assume that the MVP and ACP aren’t being considered for no reason. Nobody is going to burn natural gas just because.

    If they’re being built to answer demand, then the problem is rising energy demand and/or a lack of alternative energy sources.

    Be part of the solution. What are your suggestions to either curb demand or answer it with other sources that will produce the same amount of energy without the downsides of natural gas? And preferably will remain affordable?

    • 2019-09-11 at 6:48 pm

      Union Hill was chosen by Dominion Energy because they assumed the African American community there was politically powerless and could be rolled over with little resistance. This is the practice of environmental racism. The MVP and ACP will be pipelines transporting gas from the fracking operations in states to the west of Virginia. This has nothing to do with demand ( we have more than enough capacity for the present and for future needs ) and everything to do with increasing profits at the expense of people’s homes and land, clean water and air, the citizen’s right to determine the future of their community, and producing more carbon emissions that we now know is stealing the future of our children and grandchildren.

  • 2019-09-06 at 11:19 am

    Let me translate what Ms. Pein is trying to say, “We are all doomed because of climate change, so for now don’t let Virginia have access to natural gas.” Pein is obviously a member of this new climate change religion, and she wants to use the government to force it on everyone else. It’s not like we are burning coal here. The stuff is naturally occurring in the earth and keeps us warm in the winter, and much cheaper for financially strapped families. Oh, and by the way, winter is expected to be cold as usual, this climate change called seasons. You don’t need to be a master naturalist to know that.

  • 2019-09-06 at 4:50 pm

    Let me translate what Meetjohndoe is trying to say, “we should do nothing to clean up the planet and reverse climate change because… well there is no reason not to do it but we will impede any progress simply because we don’t understand facts, science, and logic.”

  • 2019-09-06 at 6:55 pm

    Meetjohndoe & jeffmach, Both of you have great points. Maybe all of us should stop repeating what is on the national news and start forcing our own county to do a better job managing resources. Can be bury less garbage? Yes. Can we bid with other counties to lower our costs of commodities like propane, oil, diesel, textbooks, company cars etc? Yes Can we do local insulation incentive programs to help folks lower their use of coal in the winter to heat their home? Yes Can we influence the Greenway to drastically lower tolls for more HOV use? Yes Can we lower bus charges for residents who commute considering Loudoun buys the buses, pays the driver, insure and maintains the buses etc? Yes Can we lower the cost of energy for our schools including making sure bus routes have more than 10% seat use as is the case for many buses? ABSOLUTELY. You don’t have to believe in climate change to appreciate it is really stupid to waste fuel which is a limited resource or tax dollars which should be better cared for.

  • 2019-09-09 at 2:17 pm

    You’re going to change the weather YN? How exactly? Explain the ‘science’ of that? Are you personally going to slash your standard of living by turning off your electricity to set an example? Sell your car? Stop flying? Stop using those evil plastic straws? Disconnect your gas line? Which form of reliable energy, so essential for your comfortable Loudoun way of living are you going to stop using to change the weather? Name them.

  • 2019-09-09 at 8:05 pm

    Chris, your answer is and always has been that if you cannot solve everything all at once, let’s do nothing at all. At the same time, let’s pretend to deny there is a problem so that we can fool ourselves that there is nothing that should be done.

    And yes, we can change the weather – we already have. Too bad you don’t want to notice.

  • 2019-09-09 at 8:59 pm

    That’s not what I asked YN. I want to know what exact thing you are going to do to change the weather? You smugly call others ignorant relentlessly, yet never have any specific answers to your intellectually challenged proclamations of self superiority. None. Never.

    I’ll ask again: What are you personally, YN, going to do to change the weather? Stop driving? Stop flying? Stop consuming fresh food? Disconnect your electricity and gas? Which? Which of these things do you demand forced upon your neighbors, so you can feel good about yourself at your next dinner party?

  • 2019-09-10 at 7:19 am

    Oh Chris, you know very well it takes a village to save our world. Why do you still stand in the way of progress?

    • 2019-09-10 at 11:59 am

      This discussion is fascinating to me. I face the same thing at work on a regular basis. Someone complains about something, yet offers no suggestion for improvement, and certainly does not want to contribute to the solution.

      In the grand scheme of things, the average Loudouner with annual earnings of $136,000 is not just a top percenter, but a top 0.1 percenter of the world.

      Given that the other 99.9% of the world would love to live like the average resident of the richest county in the universe: fancy car, larger than average home, whole house AC, more power hungry appliances than most, flying more than most, and so on and so forth, global energy demand is not going to stop rising anytime soon. In fact, as more and more people emerge out of poverty (good for them), energy demand is exploding.

      YN, in your own twisted logic, you are absolutely correct when you say “it takes a village”. You just forgot that most of the world’s population didn’t move to the vilage yet.

      So why don’t you answer Chris Manthos’ question and tell us what you are doing as part of that village of yours to curb climate change given that everyone else is lined up behind us to get access to the same comforts we enjoy?

      Or, are you one of those who expect “someone else” to do it?

  • 2019-09-10 at 11:52 am

    That’s the ‘facts, science, and logic’ you claim will change the weather with — the worn out “it takes a village” mantra again?

    Since you refuse to offer which exact energy related item you’ll personally sacrifice to ‘save the world’, how about you tell me what I would be mandated to give up? Stop driving? How will my kids get to sports practices and games, or school? Turn off my electricity, and regress back to candles? Forgo fresh food for my family? Give up cheeseburgers? Quit work, because it requires me to travel on planes? Or does it come down to the ole’ fashioned leftist/socialists answer to every thing: population control. Should I support Bernie Sanders idea of eliminating unborn humans in the Africa, Asia,and South America, because he thinks killing off foreigners is the answer to our supposed “climate change” problem.
    Or should I just be handed a plastic bag and pointed to The Field? Plenty of lefty democrats are totally cool with elimination rhetoric. Your choice YN… what should you and your village force the rest of us to do in the attempt to change the weather?

    YN, do you recognize we here in Loudoun are living in one of the best possible places at the best possible time in human history? We want for nothing. We desire fresh fruit from another continent, just drive to Wegmans. $8 cup of coffee from central America — we have coffee shops on every corner. Hot pizza sourced from every corner of the nation — at your door in 20 minutes. Superb First World medical care — just down the street. They’ll even come and get you in a big beautiful box truck, and if that’s not good enough, they’ll come get you in a sweet helicopter.

    Do you know what makes all of these wonders possible? Fossil energy sources. Do you grasp how much reliable energy it takes to just stock Wegman’s, Giant, HT, Food Dog, or any restaurant in the county? Tell me, which of these amenities should I forgo for your village?

  • 2019-09-10 at 5:23 pm

    Chris, and Jeff, the question is not what am I or any other individual going to do to make a dent on the global problem – the scale is too large and you know that. Or at least I think you know it and you are simply playing the role of denying that climate change. I cannot imagine that you actually believe climate change is not real. But in your usual fashion (as in your posts arguing against change to prevent mass murders) you want to keep everything the same and not look for change that can help

    • 2019-09-11 at 10:46 am

      Oh, you are mistaken again YN, I do believe climate change is real.

      What I do not believe in are the countless predictions of false prophets and their millions of followers, Natalie Pien and you as her supporter being prime examples, who announce the end of civilization within “x” number of years and humanity is in peril.

      You have been at it for decades. You’ve missed the mark every single time. According to you guys we should have fried the planet a dozen times over at this point. It baffles me that aynone would take you seriously anymore.

      Now the presidential hopefuls are jumping on the bandwagon and decrying this supposed “existential threat”. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve heard these exact words in the debates and rallies.

      These doomsday predictions have become the proverbial scarecrow of the 21st century. It’s fear mongering. That’s all it is.

      You and Mrs Pien are making these outlandish claims. What I and Mr. Manthos are asking you to explain is, if what you are proselytizing is true, what are we supposed to do about it as individuals? You and Mrs. Pien have not offered any suggestions. We’re still waiting. If your doomsday predictions are real then We the People, not the government that’s too slow to act, need to do something right now, don’t we?

      Energy demand will keep growing. Beside what I mentioned yesterday about more of the world wanting the comforts we enjoy, there’s also the simple fact that the world population keeps increasing. There are twice as many human beings alive today on this planet than there were in 1970. Isn’t this mind boggling?

      Since I’m on that topic, population growth predictions and their consequences throughout the years also have missed the mark. The doomsayers of the 60s predicted worldwide famines and chaos in the 90s. It didn’t happen because humans have found ways to increase food production to meet demand. And we keep improving in that domain.

      Let’s tie all of it together along with economic growth. For someone who talks about “facts, science and logic”, you seem to have missed the simple fact that in the last 20 years in the US:
      – Population has increased by 16%
      – GDP has increased by over 100%
      – Energy production has increased by 2.5%
      – CO2 emissions have dropped by 11%
      Those are official US government numbers. Look them up, fact boy.

      How is it possible that we reduced emissions when population and GDP went up so drastically? How come we’ve been able to double our economy with that small of an increase in energy production?

      Efficiency and progress. That’s why.

      And that’s my point. Energy demand will keep growing, and humans will find ways to answer it in more efficient and less impactful ways, just like we’ve found ways around the problems of food production, vehicle safety, the hole in the ozone layer, and everything in between that’s ever been identified as a problem.

      In small part with goverment policies, but in large part by companies and brilliant minds that will keep investing in R&D to discover and improve alternative ways to produce energy and lift up humanity. And once the technology is reliable and durable, mass production will make it affordable and good old capitalism will make sure it gets adopted.

      Until all that happens, we are stuck having to listen to your substanceless fear mongering and your own apathetic stance and empty arguing on how to avert the supposed upcoming end of the world.

      • 2019-09-12 at 7:39 am

        Jeff – how do you reconcile the impact of climate change with the position that our country and corporations do nothing? I don’t get it. We know that our environment is changing for the worse and these changes are costing all of us, yet you and Chris refuse to discuss what we (as a country as well as globally) can do??

        • 2019-09-12 at 9:47 am

          “you and Chris refuse to discuss what we (as a country as well as globally) can do”

          Funny coming from the guy who still dogges the same simple question over and over.

          “how do you reconcile the impact of climate change with the position that our country and corporations do nothing”

          I just argued exactly the opposite. I apologize for not realizing you were incapable of basic reading comprehension.

          By now it has to be pretty obvious for anyone reading this thread that you are a sad little internet troll.

          • 2019-09-12 at 6:14 pm

            hopefully, readers will not ignore what you actually wrote ” what you are doing as part of that village of yours to curb climate change given that everyone else is lined up behind us to get access to the same comforts we enjoy?” This is your way to challenge any who stands up and asks for change, not simply wait for something to happen. You ask what I do – I vote for those that support protecting our environment and our future – what are you doing?

  • 2019-09-11 at 11:20 am

    You’re the individual who condemned the comment above for not doing “something” about changing the weather YN. Now, it’s not on you to lift a finger for a problem you claim is dire. Mr. Mach is precisely right; you’re one of those people who complain about something, but won’t do anything about it.

    That’s okay YN. There are plenty of people who pay lip service to ‘climate change’ yet they’re not giving up their private jets and yachts, or skipping that European vacation, or buying a gorgeous 15 million dollar seaside estate on Martha’s Vineyard, like former President Obama just did (you really think he’s worried about this crap?).

    No shortage of folks right here in Loudoun who speak like you, yet they’re not giving up their 10,000 sf McMansion, nor their comfortable Loudoun lifestyle. Really, it’s okay. Reasonable people are used to the hypocrisy.

    The guy you criticized has it right; it is a neo-religion for you. I’m a “denier” oh no! What will your high priests do? Burn me at the stake as a heretic, or just cut my throat on the beach as an infidel? Have me stoned in the public square because I don’t believe exactly as you?

    In the end, it doesn’t matter. The polticans proclaim we’re all going to die in ten years anyway, (been hearing that story for 40 years) that is unless we handover our freedom and give them total control over our lives. You first YN. Show us how it’s done. Set the example.

    • 2019-09-12 at 7:35 am

      Chris – go back and read what I wrote – I simply remind everyone of your (and MeetJohn) continued attempts to disrupt all conversations about all solutions to all issues with your continued denials that there are problems. Instead of accepting that climate change is real, is causing us harm now, and will continue to get cause harm in the future, you try to shift the focus in a feeble attempt to stall any progress. This is not new for you. Multiple times in the past, your position has been that if we cannot sovle a problem immediate and completely, we should do nothing at all. It is almost as if you are being paid by the fossil fuel and gun industries to change the topic,

  • 2019-09-11 at 5:43 pm

    There really hasn’t been “climate stasis” since the last ice age ended quite some time ago. Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph is a pure fabrication and he has continuously failed to release his raw data as ordered by courts. What is he hiding?

    Oh, and by the way, NOAA does not agree with Ms. Pien’s forecast of gloom and doom based on Atlantic tropical storms.

    “If we instead consider Atlantic basin hurricanes, rather than all Atlantic tropical storms, the result is similar: the reported numbers of hurricanes were sufficiently high during the 1860s-1880s that again there is no significant positive trend in numbers beginning from that era (Figure 4, black curve, from CCSP 3.3 (2008)). This is without any adjustment for “missing hurricanes”.”


    • 2019-09-12 at 6:24 pm

      your statement here about NOAA makes it sound like scientists don’t think there is any link between climate change and hurricanes – but a quick google search says otherwise. While the link between the number of hurricanes does not seem to be valid, there is much evidence about the strength and longevity of hurricanes including the amount of rainfall.

  • 2019-09-12 at 9:17 am

    From heretic to K Street. Sheesh… next thing you’ll accuse me of YN, is being a politician.

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