Stopping the ACP isn't a pipe dream

In response to the Aug. 2 opinion from the editorial board, I’m compelled to point out that while large environmental groups and clean energy advocates have provided much needed and appreciated legal and technical support in the efforts to stop the Atlantic Coast and the Mountain Valley pipelines, it has been largely impacted landowners and residents of impacted communities “fighting them tooth and nail.” The overused media references to “environmentalists, protesters, greens” etc. feels like an attempt to erase the human costs to landowners and communities in the paths of these pipelines. Residents in the Nelson County Times’ community are investing their savings and thousands of hours in this battle. The West Virginia grandmother, in “extreme protest,” who blocked construction of the MVP with her 1971 Pinto for a few hours last week, simply asked, “What else can we do?”

Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to your opinion, has avoided the “raft of violations” that the MVP has received. Please note that the ACP is far behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s construction schedule. While still waiting for the 401 water certification to take effect in Virginia, they have proceeded with construction in West Virginia and North Carolina. West Virginia just finalized eight notices of violations against the ACP that were first investigated in May and June. It’s interesting to note that the investigation was triggered by two citizen complaints. On July 29, the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring coalition released photos of clear violations by the ACP spotted by the Pipeline Air Force in West Virginia. These photos are proof that the ACP is not following the promised “best practices.” Weekly status reports supplied to the FERC by the ACP cite numerous violations noted by environmental inspectors on sites in West Virginia and North Carolina and lengthy lists of “corrections put in place.”

If indeed the opinion of the editorial board is correct in the inevitable construction of both of these pipelines, it’s also correct that those of us “hoping against hope to stop them” are proving to be invaluable in holding these contractors to the “highest standards of accountability.” The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are welcoming citizen involvement, as both agencies have noted insufficient resources to oversee projects of this magnitude. Those of us in opposition are resolved to continue this battle in the courts and through key agencies, and we are also resolved to save what we can. It’s unfortunate that the editorial staff of our hometown newspaper recommends “what we must do going forward is hold the contractors to the highest standards” and suggests that “we should expect the state DEQ to significantly tighten oversight,” yet fails to acknowledge that those “hoping against hope” are doing just that.

MARILYN SHIFFLETT

Nellysford

Protecting our students

I agree with the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial, “The Case for Arming Teachers,” printed in the Nelson County Times on July 26. Its conclusion states: “It is a prudent and responsible response by local officials determined to protect students from potentially dangerous gunmen.”

While stating that this approach probably wouldn’t work in every locality, it does say that the decision to do this should be a local decision. We now know the Lee County in Virginia plans for protecting their children at school. What we want to know is what is the Nelson County plan for protecting the children in our schools?

We ask the School Board and our local school personnel for a public meeting to discuss their plan for protecting students at school.

PETER MANN

Arrington

Offer a solution, not a rant

Nearly weekly, Bob Dewey writes a letter that dances around or uses facts that confuse.

I do not know this gentleman but suspect that he is highly educated and probably a wealthy Republican, which is not a criticism of him.

However, I would like to see him offer ideas or solutions rather than just point out what he sees as issues and use inflammatory words.

It is easy to find fault but more difficult to go on the record with solutions.

BILL PLYLER

Afton

The mask is off

Socialists push for government control over as much of the country, its people and the economy as possible. Given that Democrats have advocated for higher taxes, greater regulation and outright control over large sections of our economy for decades, I have always seen them for the socialists they are. Finally, Democrats have taken off the mask and acknowledged their plan to achieve “social justice” through socialism. They could not bring their brand of socialism out of the closet until a socialized education system produced a generation that is largely oblivious to the virtues of capitalism and vices of socialism.

Some of us are old enough to have been taught the difference between free market capitalism and socialism. We remember resisting the communist “domino theory,” fighting the Cold War and watching socialist empires implode from within in real time. I hope there are enough of us left to resist the false allure of today’s version of socialism’s “free lunch.” They talk of “free” health care, “free” college tuition and “free” housing. If we substitute the truthful phrase “taxpayer-funded” for the word “free,” the blooms begin to fall off their ideas immediately.

The most superficial review of history exposes a landscape that is littered with socialism’s economic failure, destruction and death. Conversely, free market capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any system known to man. Self-reliance, individual responsibility and the primary safety net being family, church, community, county and state may not have the same allure as the false promise that the federal government can provide “free” services, but Republican ideals have the advantages of truth, sustainability and constitutionality.

The opinions expressed herein have not been endorsed by any group with which I am affiliated.

CARLTON BALLOWE

Faber

Twiddling while the planet burns

More climate records are falling by the wayside. A few weeks ago, the highest daily minimum temperature recorded for any location on the planet (108.7 degrees F) was set in Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. A few days later, Africa’s high temperature record was broken with a location in Algeria recording 124.3 degrees F. During June and July, there were too many places on the planet that set new high temperature records for me to mention here but this website (https://bit.ly/2mdTtTR) lists several of them. One final thing I’d like to mention on this subject is the hottest rain to ever fall. There is some question to this record, but it appears that rain may have fallen at Imperial, Calif., for a short time in the afternoon of July 24 when the air temperature was 119 degrees F. On that date, Death Valley hit 127 degrees F, just 2 degrees below the highest verified temperature set on Earth. As I write this there are deadly wildfires in North America, Europe and Asia and droughts in parts of Asia, especially India, China and North Korea, the Middle East and Australia.

Processing all of this and reading about the recent tornado in Charlottesville and record flooding in Lynchburg, it was almost humorous that FERC stopped all work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline because of erosion dangers. Gentlemen, you need to make the decision that this pipeline and its copies like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are dangerous to all life on Earth as they will facilitate the further warming of our atmosphere. What will it take for you to step away from your denialism and subservience to corporate power to do your job of protecting the future? Permanently end these disastrous fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

On the political front it was sad to see every intelligence service leader of the administration declare the Russians are continuing to interfere in our electoral process then a few hours later have the most ignorant president in my lifetime rant about the “Russian Hoax.” The Republican Congress has removed much of the money in the budget for electoral cybersecurity. It seems they are fine with the Russian electoral interference. There used to be a word for describing Americans that assisted foreign governments in interfering that started with a “t” but now maybe it starts with an “R.”

Finally, Democrats, it should now be obvious that to pander to those on the Republican right is the way to oblivion. Being Republican-Lite is a no-win situation; voters who want to return to the 1950s will vote Republican, and many of the rest will stay home. The United States is falling further behind the leaders on the world stage. President Trump, his cronies in Congress and his mass of followers are hastening the decline into history’s garbage can. Democratic lack of vision and courage has assisted in making that path the one of least resistance. Democrats, there are countless opportunities to enrich American life and re-light the light of freedom for the world to see. Stay away from internet stupidity; present ideas that will do good for the masses, and reap the electoral rewards.

We can do so much better.

MIKE TABONY

Gladstone

Do the American people care?

Why is this 2018 midterm election so important? The answer has historical ties; 2016 was to have been the year of the attainment by the elite political establishment of total domination of the American people. The evolution began in 1913 with the modern progressive movement and their ratification of the 16th and 17th amendments. The floodgates to power were fully opened in 1937 with the Supreme Court’s opinion on Social Security and the New Deal. This was accomplished by the then-budding elite political establishment under the threat of packing the court. The final prelude to the subjugation of the American people came in the 1960s with the “Great Society” legislation. The remaining decades of the 20th century were devoted to the destruction of family values and our Christian heritage. Then, in 2016, Hillary Clinton failed to deliver and the governmental chaos began.

The failure of the Congress to accomplish its legislative duties in 2017 and 2018 was a direct result of the elite political establishment’s political fight against the will of the American people who were led by their president, Donald Trump. The Republican Party, without a political message, rallied to the clear “Make America Great Again” message of the American people. The Democratic Party veered further away from its Jeffersonian roots and aggressively advocated for “identity politics” and full submission to the political concept of socialism.

While political party titles are used, the underlying bases are quite different. The Democratic Party has allowed itself to be seen as an advocate for the corrupt “deep state” and the “everything free” socialistic concept of Government and assuming the mantle of the elite political establishment. The Republican Party has become the “Trump People’s Party.”

November looms before us. The choice is clear. The only question is, “Do the American people care?”

BOB DEWEY

Wintergreen

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