Posts Tagged ‘defenders of freedom’

 

Dominion Resources Inc. is in the preliminary stages of planning to build a 2-4 billion dollar (conflicting numbers on this out there) natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, into and through 5 counties in Virginia, and down into southern North Carolina. They call it Dominion Southeast Reliability Project which is apparently fancy talk for gonna wreck your land whether you like it or not. Much of the territory being threatened lies in rural areas, where folks may feel less capacity to push back. But they are not alone, and we have gotten word that they are more angry than scared. Dominion Resources is a sister company to Dominion Power, who holds a monopoly on electricity in Virginia, and has headquarters located in Richmond. There is plenty of opportunity to push back against this plan, in solidarity with folks in the counties and in defense of the earth.

Highland County is one of the least populated counties in the state, and the Board of Supervisors there was presented with initial information in late May. The local paper there, the Recorder reports, “The board also received a map, plus a draft letter to property owners who could be affected, explaining the surveying that would take place on their land.

It explains to a landowner, “Typically, the first step in a new project is to conduct surveys and environmental studies along a potential route corridor. Your property has been identified as being in this corridor and that is why we are notifying you so that we can begin keeping you informed throughout this process and because surveys will be conducted on your property. Conducting these surveys and environmental studies is required as part of the permitting process for a project of this nature. The Commonwealth of Virginia encourages new projects such as the Southeast Reliability project to conduct these studies as a way to minimize environmental and land use impacts. Dominion plans to begin the surveys and studies on or about July 1, 2015.”

Further, it tells a landowner, “Please be aware that our surveying the route does not mean you are agreeing to access for construction of the pipeline. For that purpose, we will seek a separate easement agreement from all affected property owners prior to construction once a final route is selected at the end of this process. During the initial phase and any subsequent phases of the Southeast Reliability pipeline project, Dominion and its representatives will remain in contact with you through other mailings, phone and in-person information sessions to keep you informed and to answer any questions you may have.”

It directs landowners to sign the form and return it to Dominion.

It also explains Doyle Land Services Inc. would assist with the project…. County supervisors informed the planning commission of the project last night (Thursday). “The said holy cow, too,” Wagner said. “There might be nothing we can do. It’s going to sock us.””

Sorry about the long quote, but the text of the letter sent to landowners seems important to get verbatim.

Photo fro a Yinke Dene protest against the Enbridge pipeline in  April 2014- article on that issue here: http://warriorpublications.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/b-c-first-nation-along-pipeline-route-officially-rejects-northern-gateway-plan/

Photo fro a Yinka Dene protest against the Enbridge pipeline in April 2014- article on that issue here: http://warriorpublications.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/b-c-first-nation-along-pipeline-route-officially-rejects-northern-gateway-plan/

The folks of rural Virginia are the ones who will have this dangerous and destructive pipeline in their backyards, and these communities are not even set to benefit from access to resources. Dominion told a Prince Edward official that the county could purchase their own T to tap into the line in the future if they wanted.

The people of Nelson County Virginia are in the preliminary stages of pushing back against the aggressive, destructive plan. In one area, property owners are organizing to follow and film the surveyors who are being sent onto their properties. There are many determined to not let the pipeline onto their land.  Others are also gathering signatures and creating petitions. Apparently Nelson County officials who requested to meet with Dominion have not yet been given the chance.

One resident, Ammon Sammon, says “The pipeline will include a 400ft corridor wiping out everything around it, including my house, and will not be giving anyone any compensation:.

Environmentally, there is a lot at risk. Aside from the clearly destructive expansion of infrastructure serving non-renewable energy sources, the pipeline would run through the Alleghany Highlands, putting the entire area at risk. And anything which produces a greater demand for practices such as fracking is an enemy of the people and the planet.

Local Sierra Clubs have begun to come out against the pipeline plan, including the Shenandoah Group. You can read their letter to the editor which details some of the natural areas at risk, in the Staunton paper the News Leader  here.

Keep your ears to the ground, and make contact with folks you might know living in Highland, Augusta, Nelson, Prince Edward, Cumberland or Buckingham  counties. Make sure folks are aware of what is going on, even those not directly affected may have neighbors who are. They tentatively plan to start construction in 2017 and be done in 2018.

If anyone has news of any resistance or organizing against this pipeline and you would like us to share the news, please be in touch! wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth!

NoPipelines-SH-2

A reminder that although VCU has finally closed the parking lot on the Richmond African Burial Ground, 4 people still have court this Wednesday over their act of civil disobedience protesting the use of the Burial Ground as a parking lot.  Please come out this Wednesday to support them! Details below.

From the Richmond Defenders:

As the subject header suggests, the battle to reclaim the Richmond African Burial Ground is finally over!  You may recall at the last COC meeting, five individuals volunteered to become members of the Coordinating Committee (CC).  The CC members are:  Autumn Barrett, David Boothe, Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, and Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor.  The charge of the CC is to keep you informed and we will endeavor to do just that.

While we can relish this victory, we must still remain ever vigilant until this Sacred Ground is properly memorialized.  Below is the statement released by the Defenders on behalf of the COC, and important dates for you to remember.  We would also like to thank you, the community, for taking a stand and helping to bring this reclamation to fruition.

We look forward ever, backward NEVER!

Janet B. Taylor
Coordinating Committee
Celebrate the Reclamation of the Burial Ground/Support the Four Advocates
The VCU parking lot which for years desecrated the Richmond African Burial Ground was finally closed, Saturday, May 21 and is scheduled to be removed starting, Tuesday, May 24.  The African Burial Ground, formerly the Burial Ground for Negroes, is the city’s oldest known municipal cemetery for enslaved Africans and free people of African descent.

After years of community agitation, the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill authorizing the transfer of the 3.4 acre site from VCU to the City of Richmond.  The City has placed a marker on the site explaining its historical and cultural significance as well as detailing Richmond’s leading role in the internal U.S. slave trade.

Part of the activism that eventually led to the closing of the parking lot occurred, Tuesday, April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Eight community activists were successful in closing down the parking lot for an hour and a half.  Four of the eight -Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, Autumn Barrett and Phil Wilayto – were subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing.  They are being represented pro bono by the law firm of Benjamin & DesPortes, a leading criminal defense firm.  As McMillan explained, “We decided to close the parking lot ourselves…We wanted the whole world to see that this state institution has no respect for the community that surrounds it.”

For more information, please contact Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, 804-347-3598 or OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

Monday, May 23, 6 pm
Public Hearing, Richmond City Council Chambers, 2nd floor/City Hall, 900 W. Broad St. The City will vote to accept the land transfer from VCU.

Tuesday, May 24, 10:30 am
Groundbreaking Ceremony, Richmond African Burial Ground, 15th & Broad streets.

Wednesday, May 25, 9 am
Support vigil outside the Manchester Courthouse, 920 Hull Street, followed by the 10 am trial of the four African Burial Ground advocates who shut down the VCU parking lot, April 12.  Please wear a white shirt or blouse as a show of solidarity.

Sunday, June 5, 4-6 pm
Community Organizing Committee meeting, location TBA. (Note:  Meetings are always the first Sunday of the month, 4-6pm; you will be notified of the location.)

——————————————- Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality A group of Richmond area residents working to improving the lives of people in our community. Phone & Fax 804.644.5834 . PO Box 23202, Richmond VA 23223 . DefendersFJE@hotmail.com