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Virginia- On Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam’s (D-Va.) Advisory Council on Environmental Justice (ACEJ) voted to agree to make its letter to the Governor final.  The letter calls for a moratorium on further construction of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines while a proposed emergency task force reviews and addresses the evidence it has found of “disproportionate impacts for people of color and for low-income populations due to gas infrastructure expansion.”

After being originally reported by Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) on August 16th, the letter was walked back with claims that it needed to finalized at today’s council meeting.  As reported by GJEP, the claim caused some controversy since the finalization of the letter was not on the agenda for today’s meeting.

“The recommendation from the ACEJ to Governor Northam is finally final,” said Global Justice Ecology Project’s Orin Langelle after the ACEJ agreed today to approve their recommendation submitted to the Governor on August 16.  “We thought it was final over two weeks ago as did many members of the Council itself. Now the recommendation is what it was and now it’s time for the governor to heed his Council,” stated Langelle who toured both Nelson and Buckingham counties in VA along with photographing members of the Union Hill community in June.

“This recommendation to the Governor is a call to integrity and justice for Virginians most effected on the ground whose voices have not been heard,” said Tom Benevento who is a member of the ACEJ. “It is also an important step to take action on the climate crisis that effects all of us on this planet, and especially people most vulnerable. Our gratitude to citizens of Buckingham County and Union Hill for their years of hard work.”

“Today, Union Hill is counting on 100% support by ACEJ of their submitted letter to Gov. Northam that recommends he stop environmental threats by the ACP to our community in Buckingham, by the Lateral Pipeline to Chesapeake communities, and MVP to western Virginians,” said Dr. Lakshmi Ford of the organization Friends of Buckingham. “We are tired of promises by the state that they will ‘monitor’ instead of stopping these projects. We are tired of years of taxpayer money spent by DEQ to support the ACP and Dominion rather than to protect black communities and ratepayers. We worked to elect Gov. Northam and now ask him to stop Union Hill from being an EJ ‘lesson learned’ about what not to do in future.”