Hundreds of anti-pipeline protesters circled the state capitol this weekend, holding hands and forming a human chain more than ten blocks long.
They had traveled from across Virginia to protest two natural gas pipelines, planned to run through much of the western and central parts of the state.
The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast natural gas pipelines have been in the works for years, and they’ve faced grassroots resistance for just as long.
“People have been in this fight for three and a half years. They have been devoting their days, their nights, every ounce of energy that they’ve had learning about gas markets, learning about pipelines, learning about Dominion,” said Cat McCue with Appalachian Voices.
McCue says this is the first time they’ve all come together in an event this large. That’s because the State Water Control Board is set to vote on final approval of the projects over the next two weeks.
Environmentalists are concerned construction and possible spills could pollute Virginia’s waters.
“These projects are so huge and will have such far ranging effects on our waters across the state,” said David Sligh with Wild Virginia. “I have had said more than once and I really believe this, that this is the biggest threat to water quality in Virginia.”
The two pipelines are expected to criss-cross rivers and streams in more than a thousand places. They’ll also cut through forest service land, and private property.
“People see it ripping through, the possibility of it ripping through, their communities and affecting their neighbors,” Sligh said. “I mean one of the speakers today recounted the fact that the MVP would be within 300 feet of her house.”
Both pipelines already have approval from federal regulators.