Editor: I predict that one part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s legacy will be far reaching, in both time and space. It will impact not only Virginians living today, but citizens all around the world for generations to come. To be sure, Gov. Northam must be commended for outstanding accomplishments: Medicare Expansion; Metro funding; raising the legal threshold for felony larceny. Millions of Virginians will benefit.
None of this, however, will matter. Gov. Northam has failed to act within his authority to block two unneeded, fracked gas, fossil fuel transporting pipelines, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. These pipelines that cut through beautiful, rural central Virginia will exacerbate climate change, which negatively affect every social concern from national security to food security to health security to (im)migration security. Completing the ACP and MVP will result in global warming carbon pollution equivalent to 46 coal fired power plants, totaling 120 metric tons of carbon emitted per year for the next 40 years. That’s 12 times more than the annual carbon reduction proposed in the Governor’s Energy Plan.
Ominously, the October Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have 12 short years to take bold, unprecedented steps to stop greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the recently released fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment reports that climate change is here, expensive, and deadly; but the worse impacts can be avoided if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. The message is clear. Building new, fossil fuel pipelines to be in service for over 40 years is wrong.
Gov. Northam’s legacy can be different if he chooses to stop the pipelines. He can heed of any one of the following:
- “Do no harm,” Hippocratic Oath.
- “Too dangerous, too dirty,” Physicians for Social Responsibility re: fracked gas pipelines.
- “Stop work on the ACP and MVP,” VA NAACP President.
- “Stop work on the ACP and MVP,” Gov’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.
- The ACP “is not in the public interest,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur dissent statement.
- “The ACP is more expensive than using existing pipelines,” Thomas Hadwin, former electric and gas utilities regulations compliance executive.
Gov. Northam, what will your pipeline legacy be? Will you put people and planet above corporate (Dominion Power) profit? It’s not too late to do the right thing. Stop the pipelines.
Natalie Pien, Leesburg