Pipeline activists attend Northam inauguration
Ralph Northam’s inauguration Saturday to protest his refusal to oppose two natural gas pipelines that energy companies want to build across Virginia.
The protesters were with Virginia River Healers and a coalition called “Water is Life.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline would run more than 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.
Dominion Energy and other companies that have proposed the pipelines say they are important for meeting the region’s energy needs and will create jobs.
“In doing this, there is a lot of water contamination concerns because of the millions of gallons of chemicals that the process uses,” Burkett said.
“There is also the concern that with these pipelines being constructed, the fracking companies will have a better infrastructure and will then get a business incentive to continue fracking even more.” Burkett noted that Northam has accepted campaign contributions from Dominion Energy.
During the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Northam avoided taking a firm stand for or against the pipelines – drawing criticism from his opponent, Tom Perriello, and environmentalists.
Last week, Northam said he supports U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s proposal that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reconsider its vote to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
About 10 of the demonstrators at Northam’s inauguration were immigrants’ rights supporters.
Dreamers had been protected against deportation by an Obama administration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.