The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is history. In a surprise announcement on Sunday afternoon, Dominion Power called off the 600-mile natural gas pipeline that would have run from West Virginia to North Carolina. “VICTORY!” declared the website of the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The news is a major win for a wide variety of environmental advocacy groups and grassroots activists, who have been fighting the pipeline on all fronts since the project was started in 2014. The pipeline would have required a 50-yard-wide clear-cut path through protected Appalachian forest, and also disrupted a historically black community in rural Buckingham County.
Dominion won a Supreme Court case earlier this month, but that wasn’t enough to outweigh the “increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States,” says the energy giant’s press release.
Litigation from the Southern Environmental Law Center dragged the pipeline’s construction to a halt. Gas was supposed to be flowing by 2019, but less than 6 percent of the pipe ever made it in the ground.
The ACP had the backing of the Trump administration, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette blamed the “obstructionist environmental lobby” for the pipeline’s demise.
“I felt like it was the best day of my life,” says Ella Rose, a Friends of Buckingham member, in a celebratory email. “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.”
Quote of the week
“It is past time. As the capital city of Virginia, we have needed to turn this page for decades. And today, we will.”
—Richmond mayor Levar Stoney on the city’s removal of its Stonewall Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury statues
Loan-ly at the top
On Monday, the government released a list of companies that accepted loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, designed to keep workers employed during COVID’s economic slowdown. A variety of Charlottesville businesses accepted loans of $2-5 million, including Red Light Management, St. Anne’s-Belfield, and Tiger Fuel.
An advisory committee recommended last week that recently merged Murray High and Community Charter schools be renamed Rose Hill Community School, but this suggestion immediately raised eyebrows: Rose Hill was the name of a plantation that later became a neighborhood. The committee will reconvene to discuss options for a new moniker.
City hangs back
Charlottesville is one of a handful of localities that have pushed back against Governor Ralph Northam’s order to move to Phase 3 of reopening. While some of the state has moved forward, City Manager Tarron Richardson has decided to keep the city government’s facilities operating in accordance with Phase 2 requirements and restrictions. As stated on its website, this decision was made in order to “ensure the health and safety of staff and the public.”
Soldier shut in
Since at least the beginning of July, the gates of UVA’s Confederate cemetery, where a statue of a Confederate soldier stands, have been barricaded, reports the Cavalier Daily. A university spokesman says the school locked the cemetery because protesters elsewhere in the state have been injured by falling statues. Or maybe, as UVA professor Jalane Schmidt suggested on Twitter, “they’re tryna keep the dead from escaping.”