Virginia State Water Control Board Betrays Virginians, Caves to Legal Threats

In a startling display of fascism masquerading as democracy, Virginia’s State Water Control Board betrayed Virginians and Virginia’s water resources on March 1, 2019. After three and a half hours in a closed session, they revoked the motion made and passed on December 13, 2018 to hold hearings regarding revocation of the 401 water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The MVP, a 42 inch fracked gas pipeline, is currently being blasted, drilled and dug through unstable karst geology, fragile wetlands and watersheds of Appalachia. The MVP is also currently under criminal investigation and has racked up over 300 violations, poisoning Virginia’s waterways, wells and groundwater with excess sediment and industrial waste that they promised to control (and have since failed to do) during the hearing process to approve the 401 water quality certifications.

The bloated and exaggerated militarized police presence was an outragous waste of public resources as well as an abuse of power by the State in protection of the MVP’s profit margin, meant to intimidate the citizenry in the room, which consisted of mostly middle-aged women. The MVP executives also had private body guards for protection. When asked about the threat assessment used to justify the need for private security, the security company’s lead quoted other companies he worked for having chairs thrown at them. Seems a rather weak justification, given that there has never been any violence at the SWCB meetings, unless you consider the violence perpetrated by police against the citizens when throwing them out of a public forum. One quarter of the room was stacked with paid, out of work, pipeline workers, as if to blame pipeline opponents for their unemployment and to assert that their right to work in the extraction industry trumps Virginian’s rights to clean water.

Public comment was not allowed. Silenced citizens spoke by wearing shirts that read “Our Water Our Lives” on the front and “Water Protector” on the back. “Stop Work Now” banners were worn as clothing and stickers over mouths to drive home the message that the board has the authority to stop the destruction at any time and no right to silence affected Virginians. Citizen after citizen was ejected from the room for questioning the board’s legal argument as well as ethical and moral standards of the board members.

One thing is clear, Virginia’s water protectors will not stand by and allow corporations to poison water for profit. Any system which makes this form of genocide legal, is not a system worth a damn.

Mountain Valley Pipeline Under Criminal Investigation

 

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

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Former SWCB Member Calls for a Stop Work Order on the MVP

 

Former Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) member, Roberta Kellam, visited communities in Franklin and Roanoke Counties, devastated by the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. For the past four years, activists and concerned citizens have challenged the MVP on legal and scientific as well as moral and ethical grounds.

At the last Virginia SWCB meeting on December 13, 2018, a motion was made and passed to hold a hearing to decide on revocation of the 401 water crossing permits. Roberta Kellam urged the SWCB to schedule that hearing immediately.

img_8301After meeting with affected families and landowners throughout Franklin and Roanoke counties, viewing multiple construction sites and documenting the devastation, Ms. Kellam was invited to the Bent Mountain Center for a press conference and a dialog with the community.

NBC’s coverage at the Bent Mountain Center: Former SWCB Member hears from Local Pipeline Opponents

Event Organizer, Mara Robbins’ Livestream at the Bent Mountain Center

Community members expressed frustration and moral outrage as well as gratitude for Ms. Kellam’s willingness to come and see for herself how irresponsible and criminal the actions of MVP has been and how the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has not performed its regulatory function, leaving citizens to document over 300 violations. Yet the work continues on the MVP. Ms. Kellam commented that she was shocked and disturbed on many levels by what she saw and heard in Franklin and Roanoke counties. She appealed to Governor Northam and called for an immediate Stop Work order on the MVP.

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Human Rights Abuses Continue with No Action from Governor Northam

Human Rights abuses by law enforcement continue in Virginia against activists engaged in attempting to keep the Mountain Valley Pipeline from destroying the most sensitive ecological areas of Appalachia. Citizens of Virginia, concerned that the karst geology, watersheds and wetlands threatened by both of the proposed pipelines (Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) have been given little recourse to stop the water supplies of millions upon millions of people from being permanently and irrevocably destroyed.  Companies that build unwanted and unneeded fracked gas pipelines do not have to operate at real cost (environmental cost and real estate cost) and can count on a fascist, rigged system to approve the most dangerous and damaging projects. As the industry squeezes the last bit of life and resources out of the planet, regulatory agencies and water boards rubber stamp approvals for projects that illegally use eminent domain to steal property from land owners.

The brave citizens who have gone through every regulatory process and presented every agreed upon piece of scientific evidence that these projects are too dangerous to consider, much less approve, are left with no other choice but to engage direct action to stop this sinful destruction of life for profit.  This resistance is taking the form of tree sits along the proposed route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Four of them are known to law enforcement, MVP and the public: Peters Mountain, Little Teel Crossing and the two on the Terry’s Bent Mountain property.

On Peters Mountain, law enforcement have been arresting supporters of the two tree sitters attempting to bring needed food, water and supplies. In addition, the MVP has taken down one of the tree sits on the West Virginia side of the mountain. Please follow Appalachians Against Pipelines for the latest updates and find out how you can support them.

At Little Teel CrossingLittle Teel Crossing, “the fight has just begun.” Tree sits have been erected to protect family farms and ecologically sensitive areas. In addition, there has been some archeological discoveries that need to be excavated before any pipeline construction is considered.

Camp WANGA, the camp that supports Red’s tree sit has been flooded from recent rains but the campers remain strong.  Red, the 61 year old woman who took to her tree sit on April 1st, has continually been denied food and water by law enforcement, as her supporters have continually tried to adequately re-supply her.  Supporters were hopeful when Red was fed by law enforcement on Sunday 4/22/18 but are worried as she has not been allowed any more food or water since Sunday (as I write this on 4/25/18).  In addition, Red’s daughter, Minor was also fed on Sunday but the hope of further food and water allowed to Red and Minor remains bleak. Please visit Farmlands Fighting Pipelines for the latest update and how you can support the Terry family.

Since his election, concerned citizens have appealed to Governor Northam to help protect Virginia’s precious resources.  Their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

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Red’s Message to Standing Rock Activists: “Thank you!”

Red 1

I recently traveled to Bent Mountain, VA to lead an interfaith prayer and support the local families working hard to prevent the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from being built through the pristine, forested watersheds and wetlands they have lovingly caretaken for generations. At the center of this struggle is a 61 year old woman, who wishes to be called Red, who has taken to living in a tree to protest the abuse of eminent domain law being used by MVP to steal her and her neighbor’s land to build the MVP, a project that threatens 12 million people’s drinking water. The MVP has recently been clear cutting trees in violation of the March 31st deadline for tree cutting, required by the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Protections to protect the Indiana bats who nest in Bent Mountain as well as migratory birds.

I was introduced to Red by Preserve Floyd’s very own Mara Eve Robbins.  In my converstion with Red, we discussed how the challenges she is facing are the same challenges many others are facing around the country and around the world. I told her about my trip to Standing Rock and Camp White Pine as well as about the many camps in the UK that have formed to stop fracking, including Kerby Misperton Protection Camp.  Her message to activists who responsed to the crisis in Standing Rock was simply, “Thank you! You are the ones who kicked this whole thing off.”

Red was very clear about her willingness to die to save the land, the woods and the water from wholesale destruction for profit.  Her commitment is strong, as strong as the support of her community.  You can find out the latest news on Red as well as how to support her and her community at Farmlands Fighting Pipelines.

While I was visiting with Red, WLS Channel 10 News, Roanoke interviewed Red but the footage never made it to the news. I took some footage of the interview here: Red’s Interview with Channel 10

The law enforcement response to Red’s brave and inspiring stand has been to cordon off the area in an attempt to starve Red out of her tree. This has left the community questioning why the police are serving and protecting the MVP and not the community members who are trying to protect their homes and the land and water supply from destruction and poisoning.

Red 2

 

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Breastfeeding! Baby’s Best Defense Against Autoimmune Disease

 

Breastfeeding is the essential building block to the best quality of life possible for humans. Breastfeeding provides the mucus lining in the gut.  Without a mucus lining, the gut becomes more permeable than it should be and leaks out the proteins in our food that the body cannot break down.  This is called leaky gut syndrome and is the cause of all autoimmune disease.

Formula feeding will lead to a life of autoimmune and obesity challenges. There is no way to avoid these challenges and also formula feed a baby. The decision to breastfeed or formula feed does not frequently factor in the devastating cost of formula feeding to the health of our children. Now that we know how essential breast milk is to quality of life and health, we need to, as individuals and as a society, do everything we can to make breastfeeding possible, acceptable and accessible to every child. Formula feeding should be the very last emergency option.

If you have already formula fed your child or been formula fed, there is much hope in healing leaky gut and there are a lot of resources for those who want to heal their leaky gut. One must be willing to change everything about the way they eat and think about food.  One must be willing to change their entire lifestyle. Not everyone is actually capable of that.

So what does a well-informed society look like that understands how essential breast milk is to health and well being? Would such a society not also view breasts in a much different way than currently perceived in our ill-informed, autoimmune ridden, obese, porn-addicted society?

How Breast Milk Engineers a Baby’s Gut (And Gut Microbes)

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Police Presence at Potomac Pipeline Public Hearing Refreshingly Low

In stark contrast to the recent outrageously huge police presence at Virginia State Water Control Board meetings for the 401 permit applications for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Potomac Pipeline Public Hearing police presence consisted of about 10 officers. This number dwindled to about 2-4 by the end of the evening. Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan passed a state wide fracking ban after grassroots organizers worked tirelessly to pass fracking bans county by county and municipality by municipality. The people of Maryland have made it abundantly clear they want renewable energy and they want it now and they will not put their water at risk for the corporate profit of a dying and life destroying industry. Governor Hogan made the right choice in keeping the state’s police force where they are needed, rather than using them as a private army for the fossil fuel industry.  Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliff could learn from Governor Hogan but he is probably too busy spending the fossil fuel industry’s campaign donations.

Pipeline opponents rallied outside the public hearing.

TransCanada sent their professional liar and Boonsboro Town Council Member Bridgette Schmidt truely represented the people.

Experts weighed in.

Citizen after citizen after citizen urged the three person board to deny the permit.

More very well informed citizens urged the board to deny the 401 permit.

TransCanada sent about 20 of their Pipeline workers to the hearing and 2 of them spoke. It was a weak showing in a room filled with 200 concerned citizens voicing clear opposition to the project.

Many people who signed up to speak at this meeting did not get to speak so there will be a second meeting.  Please check Eastern Panhandle Protectors FaceBook Page and website for more detailed inforation regarding the project, meeting dates and updates. Also check the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s FaceBook Page and website for more detailed information. Find out how you can help.

You will also see more concerning the project in the coming months on the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League’s Facebook Page and website.

#nopotomacpipeline

 

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The Bridge with Kira featuring Delwin Fiddler Jr.

Kira welcomed Delwin Fiddler Jr. to the Bridge for a discussion about his Lakota family lineage as the rightful keepers of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe.

Our work that we put into producing The Bridge with Kira is volunteer work. Any donation that come in are allocated towards production and travel costs. Please donate to the Bridge with Kira via PayPal and direct funds to valkyra1969@gmail.com

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