Now Reading
Virginia just established a landmark environmental precedent

Virginia just established a landmark environmental precedent

Several police officers surround a person whose hands are wrapped around a piece of construction equipment.

The older woman was the one I recognized as she stood up to address six members of Virginia Air Pollution Board who gathered in Chatham, Va.’s Pittsylvania County Hall on December 3. She had been to a story-telling workshop I led a month earlier, where we taught community members how to resist the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate through our lands. We did this by sharing stories from their own lives. She had sat still, taking in everything, and now, she was at the hearing dressed in the way Southern women dress when they go to church.

The woman said that although I was not going to speak, I have found the courage. I suffer from asthma. It is bad enough that Chatham already has two compressor stations. I doubt I would be capable of breathing with a third. MVP was presenting a proposed Lambert Compressor Station, which it planned to install as part its Southgate Extension. This would transport fracked methane gas across West Virginia and North Carolina to my home, along the Haw River.

I am an enrolled member in good standing of the Occaneechi Band, Saponi Nation. I have American Indian, Irish and African blood. I was a Department of Defense intelligence analyst, and a military spouse. I was first exposed to the harmful effects of pollution when my daughters developed asthma and other immune disorders. Doctors told me that these illnesses were caused by the environment in which they were raised. Fort Bragg housing complexes were built literally on the trash that had been dumped to solidify the swamp.

I learned the word recently otiwateLakota, the place where your mother broke her water. I didn’t understand why I felt the need to return home. No matter where my location, I had to go home each year to see my family. I returned home five years ago. I gave up a good job in government, a beautiful house, and big-city convenience to raise my children with the values that my grandparents instilled. I returned to rural North Carolina and became a councilwoman for the tribe. This is how I discovered about the MVP Southgate. Threatens to run throughMany of our sacred burial spots are described by the company to be piles of rocks.

I called these permits modern in my testimony to the Virginia Air Pollution Board last week. Doctrine of Discovery(The reason for European colonization of Americas. I stated to the board that we must stop dying for the benefit industries. Referring to Chathams’ two gas compressor stations, which had polluted Chathams air over 50 years, and imposed on the community, I said: “No more.” I’m not going to take this anymore. I refuse. Slowly, lynchings have decimated our Black, Brown, Indigenous, and rural White farming communities.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.