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Ella Rose, whose home was 150 feet from the planned site of the compressor station and within the zone of total destruction if it blew up stated, “I feel that all the hard work that all of us have done was finally for good. I feel like I have my life back. I can now sleep better without the worries that threatened my life for so long.” Photo: photolangelle.org


Langelle Photography 9 July 2020

Orin Langelle

The following post is based on my work to help stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline area two long, hot summers ago, when I travelled to Union Hill. Union Hill is a freedman community directly threatened by the pipeline. I went there to meet with and document the members of the community organizing to stop the pipeline.

After six long years the $6 billion 600 mile Atlantic Coast pipeline has been shelved. It was environmentally devastating and blatantly racist. The Virginia Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice determined the pipeline had “disproportionate impacts for people of color and for low-income populations.” 

I was invited to visit Union Hill, VA in June 2018 as activist photojournalist. The historic community of Union Hill, in Buckingham County west of Richmond was founded by slaves and freedmen. Union Hill is 84% black, rural and lower-income. It is also where a massive compressor station connected to the pipeline was planned to be built on or near freedmen cemeteries and unmarked slave burial sites. Local residents see the pipeline company’s disregard for their community as part of an established history of environmental racism in Virginia. Some of my photos are below. I also spoke to activists in the area about building capacity for strategic media and solidarity in another of my roles with Global Justice Ecology Project. After my return we wrote press releases and continued supporting the community’s work against the ACP in 2018. Links below are from GJEP’s work on the ACP.

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