A pipeline intended to transmit natural gas from the fracked shale fields of West Virginia has been under construction in our locale this summer. The nine-mile “Southside Connector,” owned by Southern Company/Virginia Natural Gas utility, will traverse the cities of Norfolk and Chesapeake, bordering two schools in the first city and five in the second. In Norfolk, the pipeline runs along streets lined with high density apartment buildings, a theater, and churches, along predominantly low income African-American neighborhoods, until it reaches Harbor Park Stadium. There it will cross under the Elizabeth River, emerge at Colonna’s Shipyard, and run through Berkley, along residential streets, and by churches, city parks and the Boys and Girls Club. In Chesapeake, it navigates more suburban streets, still predominantly African American. In that city, it largely runs through existing Dominion Energy utility easements that are home to electric transmission lines that pass behind rows and rows of houses.
One of the biggest challenges we all face is making sure community members are aware of fossil fuel infrastructure work in their neighborhoods. Virginia activists are bringing everyone together to keep people informed.
Members of the Berkley and South Norfolk communities listened intently as panelists spoke about why two pipelines are a danger to the community. The meeting was organized by three organizations: The Chesapeake Pipeline Resistance, Mothers Out Front and The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, to bring an open and honest discussion about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Southside Connector Pipeline.
"We passed the construction coming into the neighborhood," said Kim Miller with Mothers Out Front. Miller said she moved into the neighborhood recently and discovered many of her neighbors don't know what's happening. "Our streets are being diverted. People are thinking they're fixing the roads. I don't think Virginia Natural Gas was doing enough to educate their community they were putting natural gas in their backyards."
Mothers Out Front Hampton Roads in the news calling into question whether the "natural" gas being piped in is necessary!
Mothers Out Front insists that local consumers of natural gas will bear the cost of the infrastructure through raised energy bills and that African-American communities will be disproportionately affected by many negative aspects of the pipelines.
Mothers Out Front Hampton Roads is in the news! They are hosting a public house party on June 30th at 10am to invite Virginia Beach mothers to talk about climate change, local impacts and forming a team to take action. The article linked below was published June 25th in the local online news Southside Daily!
With gratitude to Rev. Leo Woodberry:
"Our elected officials must listen to climate scientists. They must put the interests of real people ahead of the interests of corporations. And they must be honest about counting all the costs — including pollution and climate degradation, and human health costs — when considering dirty energy sources that damage our land, air, water, climate, communities and health....
That’s the vision that brought the Justice First Tour to Portsmouth, where this past weekend we met with justice activists from groups including the Center for Sustainable Communities, Mothers Out Front, Portsmouth’s Cavalier Manor Civic League, Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, and ECO District Hampton Roads. We heard about important issues, from Virginia’s Carbon Reduction Plan to increased flooding in Hampton Roads neighborhoods to energy equity and 100 percent clean energy for all."
Norfolk, Virginia faces the consequences of sea level rise regularly and the residents of Tidewater Gardens, among the most flood-prone areas in a city with one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country, are facing relocation. Click the link below to find out more.
“Water stood wheels-deep in a nearby intersection. In heavy rain, she said, both the road and the path flood, and children find another way to school. Or, they simply stay home. 'Flooding, rain, just to hear those words, for parents it puts a heavy burden on them,’ she said.”
- Michelle Cook, Mother Out Front Volunteer
The first ever Mother’s Advocacy Tea, a civic open house for all members of the Hampton Roads community to attend to learn how moms are leading the way for civic change and community engagement, was held on Saturday, May 12th. Attendees visited tables staffed by local volunteers from local non-profit, non-partisan organizations to learn how they can get involved and add their unique talents and voices to organizations that share their personal values.
Several members of Mothers Out Front spoke out last week at the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality Public Hearing to support Executive Directive 11 - to reduce and cap carbon emissions - and in support of bringing Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
We asked the DEQ to help draw down climate change by encouraging a reduction in carbon emissions but also asked that they consider lowering the cap as far as possible.
-Kim Miller, Community Organizer, Mothers Out Front
Read the Letter to the Editor by Mother Out Front Kim Williams, Hampton Roads!
Kelsey Wirth and Kim Williams in Washington DC for the Women's March, January 2017
"MOTHERS KNOW THAT their children’s needs come first. But does the current administration agree? Based on their terrible decision to repeal the lifesaving Clean Power Plan, I fear not. I am afraid that its mission isn’t for a livable climate for our children. Its mission is to make more profits for the polluters."
Two members of the Norfolk/Hampton Roads Team, Team Leader Kim Williams and Theresa "Nia" Amoruso were interviewed and featured in a recent article in the local news site Southside Daily. They are speaking out against the proposed pipeline that will plow through parts of Suffolk. This pipeline threatens parks and water reservoirs along the proposed path.
“An active member of Mothers Out Front – an organization that exists in part to “influence decision-makers to make a swift and just transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy” – [Theresa] Amoruso spoke quickly, even after the three-minute buzzer that alerted her time was up.
‘The city of Norfolk and other regulators agree that boring pipelines under our priceless reservoirs cannot be assessed as completely safe, only as low-risk,’ Amoruso said, citing language used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pipeline project assessment. ‘Why is any level of risk acceptable to our priceless water supply?’”