Hands Across Our Land Focuses on Property Rights

Aug 17, 2015

Grassroots groups in eight states will conduct coordinated demonstrations against fossil fuel development they say is a threat to rural America.  Actions are planned tomorrow, (Tuesday, 8/19)  in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia and more. 

The multi state action called, Hands Across our Land is focused on property rights. An issue that has come into play in Virginia because private companies can build energy infrastructure on privately owned land.  The protest actions are focused on opposition to 3 proposed natural gas pipelines that would run through the state. Carolyn Reilly is coordinating a march from the Blackwater River in Franklin County to the government center, where an afternoon meeting of the county board of supervisors will take place. She says the goal is to deliver this message.

“Community is stronger than corporations and that we are standing together with other people across this nation and we are saying let’s stop adding fossil fuel infrastructure, natural gas infrastructure. Let’s move forward as a nation toward renewable energy.”

In Franklin County, one of the places where the Mountain Valley Pipeline may be built, there is support for it from county officials, who site the need for natural gas in the region.  While some landowners oppose it, others do not. Still others think there is nothing they can do about it either way. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, organized the multi-state day of action, to say it’s not too late for their voices to be heard.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public comment period is ongoing through the end of this   year. If FERC approves it construction would start in December 2016.

Events in Virginia are planned in Montgomery, Augusta, Floyd, Franklin and Nelson counties as well as in Richmond and Roanoke.  The following organizations have information available: Preserve Montgomery County VAFriends of Nelson CountyHands Across Our Land, Free NelsonFriends of Buckingham