Va. students voice concern over proposed pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been hotly contested by plenty of landowners, but on Monday, a different voice was heard. College students from around the Commonwealth took to the Capitol with a message for Virginia’s top man in charge.

“These projects being proposed are going to affect us as youth more than the people making the decisions,” said Daynna Jaye, Chair of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition. “Students speak more loudly to certain issues than a lot of community members, but we do stand in solidarity with a lot of people who oppose the pipeline for reasons such as it coming across their property.”

The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, many of whom traveled from Hampton Roads, hand delivered nearly 200 signed letters to the Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources, calling for Governor Terry McAuliffe to withdraw his support for the proposed 550-mile pipeline.

As has reported, there have been many who have called on Virginia Dominion Power and our state’s leadership to do the same. There have been open forums, controversy and even legal action. And the state’s youth — our future — is tuned in and gravely concerned about the decisions being made.

“You’ll find Nelson County and Augusta and other areas, there are a lot of things that people are very motivated by,” Jaye said. “A lot of the students have actually gone out to extraction sites and seen that firsthand, that’s a huge motivator to us.”

They’re motivated to step forward and fight for what they’ll inherit by default. They’ve seen maps with lines crisscrossing people’s property from state to state and heard from those receiving notices that Dominion would need to do a survey soon.

“We feel like that’s why we need to show up to the General Assembly and show up to these political processes because we are a generational front line,” Jaye said.

The students are happy with the impact they made on Monday, and they’re adamant they’ll continue to work toward better energy policies and decisions on climate change. The students say natural gas pipelines, as infrastructure, only perpetuate our use of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Dominion continues their open community forums with on Tuesday night in Augusta County — one of the places where they’ve had the most opposition along the way.

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