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