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.