Nineteen protestors were arrested during a protest in Richmond, Virginia, against the construction of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines.
The demonstration of roughly 40 people occurred outside of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which is charged with granting water quality permits to the developers of the pipeline.
"This is an area where we are being rocked by extreme weather. Hurricane after hurricane and the wildfires in the west. We can't get a break. We need to tell them to stop right now and leave it in the ground," said Jamshid Bakhtiari of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in Virginia told a local news station.
Dominion Energy, the company developing the pipeline, responded:
"I think it was very disappointing that these groups thought that the best way to support the victims of Hurricane Irma was to get arrested. Our company took a very different approach. We sent 750 of our people down there to Florida to help with the restoration because that's what our company does. When there's a crisis, when there are people in need we spring into action. We help," spokesperson Aaron Ruby said.
Chelsea Rarrick, the spokeswoman for the local police, said the demonstrators were jailed due to their obstruction of free passage in a public space.
Both pipelines are due to start in West Virginia, but cross into Virginia at certain points. The Atlantic Coast pipeline will continue into North Carolina, as its name suggests.
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Natural gas is considered a “carbon-light” energy source, less harmful to the ozone than emissions from coal and oil. It is also sometimes seen as a gateway fossil fuel, fit to be used until renewables can gain a greater share in energy markets.
Opponents of the pipelines are worried the projects will encourage the use of fossil fuels as the climate grows increasingly fragile. Property rights infringement via imminent domain is another concern.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…