No to the Pipeline(s): The Documentary

Just a note to make you aware that the ongoing story of Appalachian resistance to natural gas pipelines has been serially documented and is available for viewing at a new page on this site–under Why NO Pipelines.

Any new chapters (and we all hope there will not be many more before the energy companies relent) can be viewed by clicking this blue button on the Preserve Floyd webpage.

And you should check out the citizen engagement at a recent FERC meeting:

SAVE OUR WATER! No Eminent Domain for Personal Gain! Watch the videos from right here in Virginia.

 

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League Expands Staff Fighting Pipelines in Southwest Virginia

Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League announced the hiring of two community organizers in southwest Virginia dedicated to fighting pipelines and the pollution they bring.  Mara Robbins of Floyd and Getra Hanes Selph of Bent Mountain are activists who have organized several of the preserve groups along the Mountain Valley Pipeline route.  They started work today.

Lou Zeller, the League’s Executive Director, said, “We are pleased to hire two local leaders who have demonstrated real skill in organizing their communities.”  He continued, “We envision a long-term campaign to stop the sacrifice of southwest Virginia to the fossil fuel industry.”

Mara Robbins, a graduate of Hollins University and founder the first “Preserve” group in Virginia, Preserve Floyd, said, “It is an honor to work with the wonderful staff at Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.  Whether the issue is pipelines, fracking, coal ash or a nuclear waste dump, I am committed to this work. It is the work I was born to do.” Preserve Floyd has been a chapter of the League since October.

Getra Hanes Selph, reflecting on her new position, said, “This is the issue that has propelled me to take action by organizing a grassroots community movement to “Stop the Pipelines” in Virginia.”  Preserve Bent Mountain became a League chapter in November.  She earned her B.S at Radford University.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984 by people in Virginia and North Carolina concerned about a national nuclear waste dump in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  The public education campaign launched by the League helped to create regional resistance.  The US Department of Energy abandoned the plan in 1988.

Nature Not Our Golden Egg if We Kill the Goose

Do you think that the chief purpose of natural places and communities of the planet is for human transformation into more and more human stuff forever? Or do forests or coral reefs or estuaries have rights to legal protection (as much as now afforded to corporations)?

Communities not unlike Floyd County’s population are impacted today by coal ash storage ponds that will contaminate their aquifers; they live downstream from mountaintop coal mining; they suffer genetic deformities in their newborns because of toxic industrial waste abandoned by the industries that created them.

Citizens of Floyd County have recently faced the real threat of massive fracking-gas pipelines that will potentially be putting our neighboring counties and their citizens and properties at risk.

Do communities in Giles, Franklin, Floyd and Montgomery Counties have rights to prevent degradation of their water, soil, air and way of life — even if corporation-states blow off those human needs and rights as impediments to their profit?

We are at last acknowledging that, if our local ecosystems become unhealthy, the humans and non-human creatures that depend on those living systems will also become unwell.

If we know these kinds of abuses of people and planet are wrong, what is a community on the ground in the path of known or anticipated natural-system damage to do in the face of what seems to be an indifferent, omnipotent, un-stoppable corporatocracy?

These are not academic questions and thankfully, the solutions are not theoretical but real and available. Preserve Floyd is in the process of learning how to use these solutions for the common good in Floyd County and southwest Virginia in similar ways that locally-drafted ordinances have been used in 110 municipalities across the country.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund will provide guidance and assistance as we craft a draft ordinance in support of ongoing health and justice for those in-common natural resources within our shared habitat of Floyd County–water, soil, forests and more.

Come learn more this Sunday , from 3 to 5 p.m., at the public meeting of Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County. Location is the Junebug Center across from the Jacksonville Center on Route 8 just south of the town of Floyd towards the BR Parkway.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund : Rights of Nature: Background

Community Meeting: Sunday, Dec. 14th at the June Bug Center

Please join us for a gathering that is sure to be filled with creative, unexpected twists and turns and a rousing group of active citizens.
 

Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County will host a community meeting at the June Bug Center on Sunday, December 14 from 3-5 PM.

Please join us to explore how we can preserve, protect and enhance the environment of Floyd County, how we can proactively work together to address any future threats that might come our way, and how we can support our friends and neighbors in surrounding counties in their work to keep the dangerous and unwelcome Mountain Valley Pipeline out of their communities.

Citizens Preserving Floyd County is a grassroots community endeavor that intends to listen, respond to and participate with the citizens of Floyd. We want to hear your ideas for the future. We want your voices in the mix and your presence at the table. We’d love your help if you have volunteer time you’d like to offer!

We intend to foster discussion about how we can continue to PRESERVE FLOYD and also help to Preserve Roanoke County, Preserve the NRV, Preserve Franklin, Preserve Giles, Preserve Pittsylvania, Preserve Montgomery, Preserve Virginia and West Virginia and safeguard our resources as a global community.
NOT IN OUR WATERSHED.WHAT WE STAND ON IS WHAT WE STAND FOR.

COMMUNITY IS STRONGER THAN CORPORATIONS.

STOP THE PIPELINES!

Sunday, December 14 from 3-5 PM at The June Bug Center. 

We hope very much to see you there.

You can RSVP to the event and find more information HERE.

Stop the Frackin’ Pipeline concert on Nov 15 featuring Butch Robins

Join Preserve Floyd for a wonderful concert featuring master banjo player Butch Robins on November 15 at The Floyd Country Store.

As one of the “Masters of The 5-String Banjo”, Butch has been playing and composing for over 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down!

“Introverted master of an extroverted instrument”, Butch Robins, has established himself as an instrumental innovator and explorer. His banjo playing techniques have enabled him to share the sound of that instrument, and enhance the music of an extremely diverse range of musical stylists and definers of genre.

Butch is a complicated man – an artist, a musician, a thinker and a storyteller. He’s a banjo player with few peers, and a chronicler of the music of Bill Monroe, the Father of Blue Grass Music.

http://butchrobins.com/

This will be a fantastic event with incredible music, community participation and your ticket purchases will be going to a great cause–STOPPING THE FRACKIN’ PIPELINE! Join us, bring your friends and neighbors and get ready for a really good time.

butch robins concert

 

Understanding Your Legal Rights – Mountain Valley Pipeline

Important upcoming event!

Understanding Your Legal Rights – Mountain Valley Pipeline

October 28 @ 7:00 pm

Joe Lovett (Executive Director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates), Isaac Howell (a FERC expert in Roanoke), and Elise Keaton (director of Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in WV) will be here to provide information specifically on the Mountain Valley Pipeline as to how we can proceed and helping us understand our legal rights (although they cannot solicit legal clients or recommend specific legal counsel). They can provide us information on how to proceed with FERC as well as other government agencies involved in regulating natural gas distribution. They will also be able to assist us in organizing locally and with other groups they are helping in Virginia and West Virginia. While their presentation is free, donations to fund their work as a non-profit are appreciated.

http://preservethenrv.com/event/understanding-your-legal-rights-re-mountain-valley-pipeline/

An Open Letter to the Floyd County Board of Supervisors

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear Mr. Yoder, Mr. Allen, Mr. Clinger, Mr. Turman, and Mr. Gerald:

When my family moved to the Floyd/Carroll county line in 1979, it was in part because my parents chose to abandon a middle-class lifestyle in North Carolina that they could have pursued in a way that achieved some people’s perceptions of “The American Dream.” My father had a good job at the Research Triangle Institute in Raleigh, NC. He left that position and everything it gave us in terms of financial and social stability and took his family to a small farmhouse with no electricity or running water—until we installed a hand pump—on the banks of Deepwater Creek out in Indian Valley. At nine years old, I learned how to operate a wood cook stove, how to wash clothes in a wringer-washer, how to carry water for a family of five (and how to conserve water for the rest of my life as a result), and how to live with the confusion and judgment of our extended family because many of them could not understand the circumstances that led my parents to make such a seemingly extreme—some would even say irresponsible—decision.

After working in the sawmills and the hayfields, and a few other jobs that required hard labor and honest effort, my father was hired as the coordinator for Citizens for the Preservation of Floyd County. The struggle to keep the 765 KV power lines out of Floyd had been ongoing for a few years already and when dad got involved, most of the community was already aware that APCO planned to build these giant lines that would carry coal-powered electricity from WV to NOVA. What my father did, so far as I can recall, was to bring the community together and help to organize the resistance that was ultimately unsuccessful in keeping the lines out but remarkably successful in bringing the community together. To this day those giant power lines are, to my knowledge, the only existing energy infrastructure in Floyd County that are not related directly to Floyd County’s energy needs.

Most of you probably knew my father, Wayne Bradburn, or you may know of him. Over the years he participated in the community in various ways, including a job as the small business incubator manager at the Jacksonville Center, working for the 2000 census, and a brief stint with the Ruritan Club.

When I began to lead the effort to keep the Mountain Valley Pipeline out of Floyd, my father was a huge inspiration to me. Though he did what he had to do over the years to keep his family afloat, his professional decisions were never based on profit. He did not ever choose to own land, claiming that his moral and ethical position was that land is not something that can be owned by anyone, that we all have a responsibility to be stewards for the earth upon which we reside. Wayne died five years ago. It is, perhaps, unreasonable to claim that your father was also your best friend, but I truly felt that way about my dad. As a widow and a single parent, he was not only a friend and father to me; he also played a very large role in the upbringing of my daughter. It took me a very long time—and a great deal of community support—to “recover” from that loss.

I’m giving you this background so that you can, perhaps, understand a little bit about why the work I have done over the last few months has been motivated by a true love for community and for the remaining authenticity of the people and the work of Floyd, in the sense that we still carry on some of that heritage. There are those who are still working horses, cooking with wood or choosing to build homes that do not conform to the “standards” that most Americans choose to live by. Most people in Floyd have a deep respect for the earth, whether they consider themselves environmentalists (a word that has some unfortunate associations) or simply people who value and intend to protect the land that they live on.

Floyd also has some unusual alliances and relationships, and though there are certainly different “segments” of the community, I believe that when push comes to shove, there’s a valuable and unusual willingness to come together in support of a common goal in a way that transcends personal ideologies, lifestyles or choices.

This is what I have witnessed over the last few months as the director of Citizens Preserving Floyd County. Everyone has been willing to pitch in. We’ve worked together in a manner that does not always seem possible in other communities; though I hope that perhaps it is something we are learning, as a society, to pursue. Though this country was founded on independence, our system of government, at its best, encourages inter-dependence.

Though I have voted in every election possible since I was eighteen and participated in social movements of various sorts from the time I was twelve, I have never felt so much like I was truly interacting and participating in local government until now. You have all been incredible. I have felt from the beginning like everyone here was really listening, genuinely concerned, and actually committed to representing and supporting the interests of Floyd. There has been an open line of communication, a legitimate sharing of resources, and you have all challenged any cynicism I held about special interests, greed, deception or corruption. I am an admitted idealist—and though I think of myself as a practical idealist, I still recognize that my idealism has contributed to my perception of the entire situation in an as-yet-undetermined manner. For example, when I go to the Roanoke Board of Supervisors meeting this afternoon, I will approach them as allies, not as enemies. Until I know differently, I will assume that the information and perspective I have to share will be one that is valued, heard and potentially acted upon. This may or may not be true, but it is you who have given me the foundation to stand on that allows me to believe that is possible, and for that, I offer you the deepest of appreciation. You’ve gone above and beyond. Thank you.

As we move beyond the initial threat of the Mountain Valley Pipeline ripping through Floyd County, many of us involved in the resistance are committed to being emissaries for the surrounding region. We have so much to share that we’ve gathered over the last few months and we’re willing to assist them in their own struggle. Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County (PF: CPFC) has become a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and we are working with this organization to learn how to effectively identify and address threats to our environment. What is perhaps unique about PF: CPFC is that we do not limit our definition of the environment to the ecosystem or the natural resources we have in abundance here in Floyd. We’re also considering our cultural heritage and our way of life, and looking at ways we can support and encourage that growth and preservation as environmental advocates.

At this point, we have a lot of refiguring and reframing to do, and we welcome your participation in the dialogue so that we can continue to serve the community to the best of our ability.

When it was announced that the pipeline would no longer be routed through Floyd, it was a bittersweet “victory” for me. What I know now about the fracking industry, the sustainability of these proposed high-pressure transport lines and the issues of injustice that surround these sorts of projects are things I cannot ever not know again. Though the proposed route does not pass over our county line, it now could potentially affect our neighbors in Bent Mountain and Montgomery County. My personal decision is to continue my efforts to ensure that EQT, an irresponsible, disrespectful and incredibly corrupt corporation, does not build this pipeline at all. But I did have a moment when I realized that we did, indeed, win. The power lines made it through despite my father’s best efforts, but the pipeline did not. And I know that he is smiling about that and patting me—and Floyd County—on the back.

Because I have been the public face and the voice for this movement, I am getting a lot of credit for what’s happened. It was not me, though. It was Floyd. Hundreds of citizens who have contributed in whatever ways they could—yourselves included—and honestly, one of my biggest challenges over the past few months was to find something for everyone to do. So many, many people have offered their minds, hearts and shoulders. So many voices have been included in my public statements. It has been—and will continue to be—an honor to serve my community in this way. I hope that you will help us to determine the best manner in which Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County can continue to benefit the community as we move forward.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mara Eve Robbins

Joe Waldo’s Town Hall Canceled, EQT in Roanoke Tuesday

Preserve Floyd extends our deepest appreciation to all of you who contributed to the effort to keep the Mountain Valley Pipeline out of Floyd. We did it! And as we celebrate our success, we also remember: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”- Winston Churchill

Due to the shifting circumstances here in Floyd County, Joe Waldo has decided to cancel his town hall meeting on eminent domain that was planned for next Tuesday, October 14, and move it to Montgomery or Roanoke County in the near future. We will update you as soon as we know details.

Though Floyd was spared, this fracked gas pipeline is still too close for comfort. And if you are still interested in letting EQT know how you feel about their corrupt policies, their contributions to political campaigns and their dangerous and irresponsible environmental practices that have led to a 4.5 million dollar lawsuit, please feel free to show up on Tuesday for the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Meeting at 3 PM.

From the roanokecountyva.gov website:

“In September 2014, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, a joint venture partnership between affiliates of EQT Corporation and NextEra Energy, contacted Roanoke County Administration about consideration of a portion of Roanoke County for a possible corridor for a natural gas pipeline.

Although the County has no regulatory role in the approval process as it is controlled by the federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), some of our citizens may receive notifications that EQT would like access to their property to look at the feasibility of the proposed location.”

A briefing on this matter is scheduled for the Tuesday, October 14 Board of Supervisors Meeting, 3:00 p.m., Roanoke County Administration Center, 5204 Bernard Drive. EQT will be present at this meeting. If you would like to register to speak during the public comment period, email Deborah Jacks at djacks@roanokecountyva.gov.

The new route takes the Mountain Valley Pipeline through the Bent Mountain area, which is actually much closer to our friends and neighbors in Copper Hill than it was before. We must be diligent, compassionate, and support our neighboring communities in whatever way we can.

Thank you for continuing to prove that community is stronger than corrupt corporations.

Power to the people!

 

 

Moving Forward With Support and Outreach

Yes. It’s true! The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline will NOT be routed through Floyd County. Here in Floyd, we are celebrating and breathing deep sighs of relief.

So now we turn our attention to those who still need our support.

Many have asked: “Will you still have your landowner’s meeting now that Floyd’s landowners will not be affected?”

Yes. Floyd wants to reach out with support and resources to Montgomery, Franklin, Roanoke, Giles, Pittsylvania, Henry, WV and any other landowners who are willing to make the drive to the Floyd Country Store tomorrow night.

We will have landowner’s handbooks (you can also download them here), supportive folks who are eager to share strategies and ideas, and some tips on how you can say no to the surveying activity in the most comprehensive way possible.

So join us tomorrow, Thursday, October 9th  at the Floyd Country Store at 6 PM. Please enter through the side door to the left of the store. The meeting will be upstairs.

This meeting is open to any and all affected landowners along the proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and is intended specifically for those who have received letters from EQT/Coates or who’ve gotten a call from them identifying them as potentially affected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. We welcome affected landowners from surrounding counties to join us in Floyd.

We are hoping to set up a network of landowners to better pinpoint
the route, establish needs specific to landowners, and ensure that everyone receives information to help them deal with this issue.

Have YOU gotten a letter or a call from Coates? Hope to see you there.

Landowner’s Meeting on Thursday, October 9 at 6 PM

We will be holding a landowner’s meeting this coming Thursday, October 9th  at the Floyd Country Store at 6 PM. Please enter through the side door to the left of the store. The meeting will be upstairs.

This meeting is open to any and all affected landowners along the proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and is intended specifically for those who have received letters from EQT/Coates or who’ve gotten a call from them identifying them as potentially affected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. We welcome affected landowners from surrounding counties to join us in Floyd if they wish.

We are hoping to set up a network of landowners to better pinpoint
the route, establish needs specific to landowners, and ensure that everyone receives information to help them deal with this issue. The route has moved so there is likely a new group of landowners.

This will also help us to prepare for the town hall meeting on October 14 at 7 PM at Floyd County High School auditorium. There will be a public presentation by Joe Waldo of Waldo & Lyle, eminent domain attorneys. This is open to all and will consist of a 45 minute presentation followed by Q&A.

The Board of Supervisors will meet with EQT on Oct. 28 at 7 PM at the Floyd County High School for the public part of the supervisors’ meeting. No public questions will be allowed, so contact your supervisor to pass on your concerns and questions. Only those on the board will be able to ask questions.  There is a public comment period at the beginning of the meeting and we encourage all of you to prepare a written statement if you’d like to express your concerns.