Climate solidarity


On April 29, 2017, Preserve Floyd held a solidarity demonstration with the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC. Though it was planned as a sister march with those marching in DC, Floyd County also demonstrated strong support for those in the region still facing the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the affected landowners violated by survey activity which is unrelenting despite their protests.

Mary Beth Coffey, a landowner from Bent Mountain whose home and property is threatened by the proposed MVP, brought her easement paperwork with her to the demonstration. Surrounded by Floyd County allies who held signs saying: “No Pipeline, No Trespassing, No Surveying,” she lit it on fire as everyone cheered.

This action was inspired by Richard Averitt, from Nelson County, VA who is fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). He is challenging

other impacted landowners to send a powerful message to the ACP and MVP by not only refusing to sign an easement, but burning it to send a powerful message of resistance. “This is in solidarity with all affected landowners whose rights and lives are threatened by fracked gas pipelines!” said Coffey, who is fighting the MVP with Preserve Bent Mountain.
Floyd County landowners were violated by survey activity during the investment stage of the proposed MVP in the summer of 2014. At that point, the MVP had not even contacted local government. They have gone on to terrorize landowners all along the route. Mara Robbins, a founding member of Preserve Floyd, said: “This kind of illegal, immoral activity by fossil fuel corporations has got to stop. Despite the many valid objections from communities all along the proposed route of the pipeline, they continue to trespass for surveys, causing landowners incredible stress. These corporations are not above the law! They should not be able to plow through private property to survey for a proposed pipeline that would threaten the health and safety of our children and grandchildren. All they care about is profit, not the public good. This is totally unacceptable. We will continue to fight.”
J.L. Fogo, co-chair of Preserve Floyd, stated: “In our culture, we learned a long time ago that we shouldn’t simply dump our toilet waste into the creek behind the house. We shouldn’t dump our motor oil on the ground by the garage. We shouldn’t toss our litter out on the highways. What industry, our legislators, and multi-national corporations need to learn is that we will not allow them to continue to trash our environment. They cannot put a pipeline in the ground and expect us to believe it will be “out of sight, out of mind” or “safe” by any stretch of the imagination. We, at Preserve Floyd, are working to expand cultural consciousness regarding our environment. We know it on a local level here in Floyd County. This needs to be understood and embraced on a government level, a national level, a corporate level, and a global level. We must stop pollution and embrace alternatives to our current lifestyles.” Fogo is also the coordinator of a working group in Preserve Floyd that is investigating the implementation of a community choice agreement that commits to the sustainable development of renewable energy.
“Floyd County, along with all the counties in these Appalachian Mountains, have very fragile water systems due to the horizontal fractures in these ancient rock formations,” said Jayn Avery, co-chair of Preserve Floyd. “Any contamination can travel great distances underground as well as flow down the mountains into waterways that feed the coastal waters or as far as the Mississippi. Clean water and clean air are essential to the health of all living beings as well as entire ecosystems upon which we all depend on for life.” Avery is also the coordinator of a working group focused on water protections. She insists: “We must think globally and act locally! Preserve Floyd is committed to protecting and preserving our water and working towards a clean energy future.”
Melissa Thornhill recently moved to Floyd from the Pacific Northwest. This was her first time attending a demonstration in Floyd and she was moved by the sense of community at the event. “Not only is Floyd taking effective action for the environment, they also demonstrate a sense of responsibility for the health and safety of the region, which I really admire. I think, like Preserve Floyd said early on, that community really is stronger than corporations. I know this first-hand from being welcomed, embraced and appreciated by this strong community. I was so glad to be here today.”
Preserve Floyd is the grassroots group that successfully kicked the MVP out of Floyd County in 2014. They are now taking on important, proactive projects in their community and strategizing with their neighbors in the region who are still fighting the proposed MVP to resist dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens our health, safety and environment.

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J.L. Fogo |
Mara Robbins | |
Jayn Avery | |
Mary Beth Coffey | |

Preserve Floyd:

  • Identifies and monitors risks to the natural environment of Floyd County and the surrounding region
  • Educates and mobilizes residents to make empowered choices
  • Collaborates with local governments and community groups
  • Acts to protect and preserve Floyd’s unique and fragile ecosystem and water resources
  • Commits to grassroots mobilization and environmental justice

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