This week I’m inspired by Crystal “Red Bear” Cavalier-Keck, a writer and former councilwoman for the Saponi Nation in North Carolina. She recently testified at a hearing of the Virginia Air Pollution Board in opposition to a permit for an extension to the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Virginia Air Pollution Board is part of VA Department of Environmental Quality

The pipeline is intended to carry 2 billion cubic feet of fracked methane gas each day from West Virginia across Virginia into North Carolina. To build the 375-mile pipeline requires an easement from landowners, who in this area are predominately Black and/or Indigenous. In her testimony, Cavalier-Keck called this “a modern ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ referring to the justification given when European explorers and settlers first began taking Native land in the Fifteenth century. She went on to say, “We must be done dying for the benefit of industries.”

“We must be done dying for the benefit of industries.”

A statement we should all take to heart. Projects like this will undoubtedly contribute to climate change, both when the methane is burned for fuel and if any is accidentally released through leaks. The UN estimates methane is responsible for 30 percent of warming since the pre-Industrial era and calls reducing methane emissions “the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years…”

And, the Virginia Air Pollution Board listened, voting six to one to deny the permit.

Truly, something to celebrate!

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