Local organizers stage “Water is Life” protest in downtown RVA

Photo by Shayla Bailey.
Photo by Shayla Bailey.

A statewide coalition of more than 30 organizations came together on Dec. 2 to host a “Water is Life” rally and concert in protest of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

We invite all who are concerned about clean water to join together to tell the story of how the MVP and ACP pipelines are a real and certain threat to the drinking water of all the citizens of Virginia, especially those who live in Richmond,” the organizations stated in a news release.

More than 500 people assembled at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square where guest speakers, Del. Sam Rasoul (D – Roanoke), nonprofit director David Sligh and Pastor Paul Wilson rallied against the proposed pipelines.

“Water quality cannot be fully protected if these projects go forward,” Sligh said.

Rasoul spoke in opposition to the pipeline.

“This pipeline comes right through my water sewers,” Rasoul said. “Don’t touch my drinking water.”

The rally surrounded Capitol Grounds and marched from the Bell Tower to the National, where a concert was held for the protest.

MVP will span approximately 300 miles across Virginia and West Virginia. The ACP would cover 600 miles throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

The project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If the ACP is approved, 150 feet by 3,000 feet of forest will be demolished. The path of the proposed pipeline falls directly on Bill and Lynn Limpert’s property, who have plans to leave if the pipeline is approved.

“The pipeline is not needed for energy,” Bill said. “The fates of these pipelines can be determined by our state authorities. They must rise to the occasion and refute the governor’s repeated claims that it’s out of his hands. The next two weeks may be the most crucial times for Virginia’s environment in our generation.”

A final decision on the proposal will take place during the Virginia Water Control Board Meetings beginning on Dec. 6. It will be the the last chance to stop the proposed fracked gas pipelines.

“Our environment is going to be raped by these two pipelines,” Rasoul said. “Dec. 8 and Dec. 13 can either be the beginning or the end. It can be the beginning of a massive resistance, it will not be the end.”

Emma Gauthier, Contributing Writer

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