‘Pledge of Resistance’ launched

Published 11:45 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

Opponents to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) have launched a “Pipeline Pledge of Resistance” and are asking those dedicated to “preserving clean soil and water and a safe climate to commit to joining acts of peaceful civil disobedience in order to stop proposed fracked-gas projects.”

Chad Oba

Chad Oba

The call to action and pledge — available at http://nonewpipelines.org — has been signed by the 23 citizens who blocked the gate to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s mansion in early October, according to a press release from Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

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Pastor Paul Wilson, who pastors at the Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist churches in Buckingham, was one of the 23 arrested.

“Unfortunately, this is what it has come to,” said Chad Oba, a spokeswoman for Friends of Buckingham (FOB), a group opposed to the ACP, “because it seems as though all the protection is for the corporations. There’s hardly any (protection) for the people. And, so people are taking to the streets. People are engaging in civil disobedience because they feel it is the only thing left that we can do.”

The citizens, according to the release, including an Army veteran, pastors and coastal residents on the front lines of sea-level rise, were peacefully arrested while calling on McAuliffe to help stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline and ACP “using his administration’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.”

Oba said FOB has not made a decision if the group will participate in the peaceful civil disobedience.

“However, as individuals, there are members of our group who would likely participate, but we have not made a group decision at this time,” she said.

The pledge, according to the release, is inspired by pledges of resistance that have helped to galvanize movements to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and, most recently, the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Pastor Paul Wilson

Pastor Paul Wilson

The ACP project calls for a 600-mile natural gas pipeline to be constructed, starting in West Virginia, spanning Virginia and ending in North Carolina.

The project includes construction of a 53,515 horsepower natural gas fired compressor station, slated for Route 56 between Shelton Store and Union Hill roads. On Monday, the county’s planning commission is set to vote on a special use permit to construct and operate the station. The station would be located near Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist Churches.

The project has drawn opposition in Buckingham.

“My church community is in the ground-zero zone of Dominion’s dangerous compressor station,” said Wilson. “This project would only propel fracked gas through our community, leaving us with toxic emissions, pounding noise and explosion danger. We refuse to be sacrificial lambs for the sake of private profits.”

Organizers said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a “long track record of rubber-stamping gas industry projects,” adding, “We want to be ready to act at every remaining point in the decision-making process, from FERC’s final review of each pipeline to the McAuliffe administration’s review of each pipeline’s air and water permits.”