FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 2, 2023
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Washington D.C. - In response to the U.S. Senate passing the debt limit deal, which includes a provision to approve permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Green Workers Alliance (GWA), a worker organization made of current and aspiring renewable energy workers, released the following statement:
“The dirty deal to include permitting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the debt limit deal is infuriating. This pipeline will ship fracked natural gas through vulnerable communities for decades, and we stand with frontline communities who will face the damage from this project. Renewable energy projects that Green Workers Alliance members work on have to go through hurdles upon hurdles of regulatory approvals that can take years, yet fossil fuel projects continue to get special treatment. In the face of our climate crisis, our elected leaders in DC need to be expanding renewable energy projects, not building more pipelines for fossil fuels,” said Matthew Mayers, GWA Executive Director.
This pipeline will ship fracked natural gas through vulnerable communities for decades to come. GWA member and solar worker Felicia Allen knows first hand the dangers of fracked gas. In southern Ohio, where she is from, fracking has destroyed water supplies for entire towns and has been linked to serious chronic health problems..
“If it’s not safe to even be brought out of the ground in the first place, why would it be safe to send it hundreds of miles through a pipeline over one of the east coast’s largest earthquake faults?” said Allen. “All I see is corrupt politicians throwing Appalachia under the bus to make a dirty dollar, nothing new there. I’m grateful at least to see folks like Senator Tim Kaine fighting for us all in a real way and we will definitely remember that.”
Southwest Virginia organic farmer and GWA supporter Alexis Meyer said, “I live close enough to the proposed pipeline that I’ve seen them surveying and preparing for a return to work for weeks now in preparation of this decision. We have been fighting against this pipeline for years as we’ve already seen the harmful effects and know there will be more to come if it’s approved. It feels like a slap in the face to our efforts and successes. Central Appalachia and the rest of the country deserves the promise of less fossil fuels and more renewable energy projects to be fulfilled.”
GWA member and solar project recruiter Annie Covington said, “ The fact is many oil and gas workers have moved into renewable energy and feel more passionate about the work and its impact. However it’s a difficult choice because pay and per diem standards are so much lower - if more pipeline jobs are created, it sends a clear message that renewable energy work is being devalued on a national level.”
GWA members took the message about the need for better jobs in renewable energy to the shareholder meeting of the mega-utility Southern Company in Atlanta last week. Mega-utility corporation NextEra Energy is one of the top investors in the Mountain Valley Pipeline, with other owners including subsidiaries of the utility companies Con Edison and RGC Resources. GWA leader Brittney Linton, who is working on a solar project in Virginia, said, “We will not stop putting the pressure on these utility companies that are sponsoring projects that harm the environment. This isn’t an issue affecting just us here in Virginia and West Virginia; we are looking at national implications if this is the new standard of how we do business in Washington, D.C. We can create good jobs and protect the environment. We know it’s possible if our elected officials commit to their promises.”
Green Workers Alliance is a worker organization made of current and aspiring renewable energy workers demanding more and better green jobs