Posts Tagged ‘james river’

On March 27 the Virginia Sierra Club issued a press release calling for increased rail safety, particularly regarding the shipping of crude oil through Virginia.

A month later, today, a train on CSX lines going through Lynchburg, Va derailed, catching on fire and leaking crude oil into the James River.
The spill couldn’t have happened at a worse time, with the river already reaching flood levels due to days of rainfall.


Photo from Tim Barry’s twitter

City of Richmond officials have stated they will switch the City’s water supply to the Kanawha Canal… but to our knowledge the canal is fed by the river. We are very concerned about the safety of drinking water in the city of Richmond and for everyone along the James.
This is yet another example of why we can not continue our dependence on fossil fuels. They are too toxic and dangerous. Richmond and Virginia need to move to alternative, non nuclear, fuel sources.

We demand no crude oil shipping through our state, whether by rail or pipeline, and stand in solidarity with other communities fighting against the corporate greed and destruction of our planet and to keep their communities clean and safe from fossil fuels.

The recent chemical spill in West Virginia, pipeline spills around the country, and more should be more than enough warning to our society that enough is enough. The earthquakes near the nuclear reactor at Lake Anna should be enough to scare us into changing our ways, especially after the tsunami in Japan causeing massive pollution from their nuclear reactors. We have numerous examples of the suffering and grief these practices result in. We need to change our ways as a City and a society.

Our hearts go out to all the animals, plants, and humans who will suffer and die due to this oil spill. Our hearts grow hardened towards the corporations who continue to place profit over people and grow rich through exploitation of humans, animals, and the earth.

No Keystone XL
No crude oil trains

Solidarity with everyone fighting for alternative sources of power and fuel and against the pillaging of their communities.

Please be safe Richmond and let us know how we can help.

Sadly, the Avail song, Scuffletown, has continued relevance.

And Old Crow Medicine Show’s James River Blues…

Curles Neck is a huge farm out in Varina, to the East of Richmond and along the James River. An environmental struggle has been going on between the rich owners of the property, and people who grew up along that section of the James. The dispute involves an area which the owners of Curles Neck hope to privatize with a dike separating it from the James River. The opposition, including our friend Brian Siff, is against privatizing access as well as the environmental consequences of the dike contruction.

The issue is complicated by the presence of an old, deteriorated dike. But with no permit apparently on record, their is a dispute as to if this is a renewal of an old allowed dike, or an attempt to build something new.

Various government agencies have chimed in on the issue. These are some documents we have uploaded for public access containing letters from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and more. Click this to check them out!

There are tidal wetlands at stake, and some evidence the scientists with good cause to advise against the construction of the dike are being silenced by financial pressure. The Curles Neck owners, Pruitt and Goodwin are both rich and influential men.  Pruitt was one of the developers of Short Pump mall, and Goodwin is a co-owner of the Jefferson Hotel and a billionaire. Their interest in creating the dike is duck hunting.

Siff, and others, also enjoy duck hunting from time to time. But they are more concerned with the environment in this instance.

This article in October in Richmond magazine is a good introduction to this issue. Hopefully Curles Neck and other small local issues can be brought into the larger picture of the corruption of wealthy people negatively affecting local policy in Richmond and surrounding areas. There is a web of the rich and powerful that connects many of the current issues that plague the non-billionaire residents. Hopefully by drawing those connections out we can make resistance a more united and strong effort.

When asked for an update on the issue, Siff said “Hopefully it is not too late! EPA and NOAA have both recommended denial of the federal permit needed. Before the Army Corps broke off communication with us they made it sound like the recommendations for denial where “pro forma ” no big deal. The VMRC hearing was a farce, bordering on illegal and maybe worse. The administrative record demonstrates this project conflicts with on going, tax payer funded, efforts to restore three threatened fish species that were once viable commercial fisheries. A major part of the Corps process, according to their own regulation, is the public interest review. There is absolutely nothing in the public interest in this project. Pure and simple, this is a land grab, achieved through manipulation of the earths surface at the expense of the environment and all that it supports. Please check the Fb page Curles Neck Creek Fresh Water Tidal Estuary Restoration.”

Venture Richmond is again trying for a project residents don’t want. Here is more from Oregon Hill resident Scott Burger:


I want to apologize in advance if I seem particularly agitated or distracted these days.

I am trying to stay cool with this Venture Richmond proposal, but yesterday someone who I thought was my friend suggested that if Oregon Hill residents did not like the Venture Richmond plan, maybe we should just all move to Short Pump, because right now, we live near “RVA’s main event location”. I have to tell you, I am not moving to Short Pump, but if things keep up, I know there will be serious pressure from my wife to move to southern NJ.

As my neighbor Matt stated, As it is, I live in the MIDDLE of Oregon Hill and I can hear concerts at Brown’s Island INSIDE MY HOUSE. Now they want to put an amphitheater closer than that? Really?! The city won’t even give me a permit to put a toilet in my garage, and Venture Richmond gets to ruin the quality of life for an entire neighborhood?

If you can, I would certainly appreciate anything you can do to influence the Planning Commission before Monday. Here’s more about that:

The Planning Commission on Monday will be considering the “location, character and extent” of the use of City of Richmond property as part of the proposed project.  (Venture Richmond has yet to apply to have the property rezoned.)  We can address the fact that this is the wrong “location” for the amphitheater, because it will harm the canal and negatively impact the neighborhood and War Memorial with major parking and noise problems.  It is also important to address the “extent” of the project, since if the project is confined below the canal it would avoid damage to the canal and the parking and noise problems would be reduced.

An amphitheater is not a permitted use in the area above the canal (zoned R-03 — residential office).  We must not allow that area above the canal to be rezoned, because once it is re-zoned Venture Richmond can put an amphitheater there “by right.”  Unless Venture Richmond applies for a “conditional” rezoning (which is unlikely) there will be no restrictions other than the general restictions under the zoning category.

If the venue is confined to the area below the canal it will avoid the need to damage the canal, and the volume and parking problems would be reduced.
Venture Richmond already operates Brown’s Island, and their main stage should logically go on that island where the noise and parking is less problematic.

Secretary of the Planning Commission:

More background (and a lot of important history):

Hope you all are doing well.

Thank you,

Scott Burger

Our friend Mark Aloysious curated a film program for this year’s James River Film Fest. His presentation, the Occupied Moment will be TONIGHT at 8pm at Gallery 5. It is by donation, so bring 3 dollars if you can, but still come out if you can not.

PLEASSSSSEEEE come out if you can!!

For many 2011 will be remembered as a year of rebellion, revolution and repression. It is in times like these that the role of filmmakers is of the utmost importance, not to be bullhorns for any side, but rather to immerse themselves in the moment, to occupy space and time and navigate the multitude of realities and truths the world presents. This program features four filmmakers or collectives who did not have the luxury of looking back on a moment but rather created and distributed work as quickly as possible, often while their respective protest movements were still in the streets. Program includes Gravity Hill Newsreels: Occupy Wall Street, Series Two, five short impressions of Occupy Wall Street, shot by 2010 JRFF guest Jem Cohen in New York during the Fall of 2011; Krisis, the Prism Film Collective’s documentary about the economic crisis in Greece; Occupy America, Richmond filmmaker Mark Strandquist’s look at the Occupy Movement’s challenge in articulating their messages to everyday Americans; and Field Statements: Pritemps Arabe in Cairo, featuring the works of 13 Egyptian photography and video artists documenting their first hand experiences of the Egyptian revolution. Filmmaker/curator Mark Strandquist will introduce the program and lead a post-screening Q&A. Suggested Donation: $3