FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness

I’m an Eagle Scout from Virginia.

Troop 149, an enthusiastic and lively troop from Arlington, made me the person I am today. Being a member of Troop 149 meant a lot of things, but most importantly it meant incredible outdoor expeditions on the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail, a treasured 2,200-mile hiking trail that traverses the Appalachian Mountains, was a mainstay of my youth.

I spent countless hours and made lots of memories on the trail — learning how to cook on a smoky campfire, leaving my tent to greet the crisp morning air, watching the sun dip below the mountains after a long day of backpacking. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything.

My visits to the Appalachian Trail became more infrequent as I got older and my Scouting career came to a close. I shipped off to a college on Virginia’s coast, far away from the mountains.

Even as I grew older and busier, I found myself longing to be back out on that well-worn trail.

The Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (anokarina / Flickr)

I wasn’t too troubled, though, because I knew it would always be there.

That is, until I learned about the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a proposed 300-mile natural gas pipeline that would cut right through the Appalachian Trail, and it promises to be a disaster.

The MVP poses an unprecedented menace to the Appalachian Trail, threatening to clear a 125-foot wide gash on either side.

This gash, which would be roughly the size of 12-lane highway, would extend far beyond the sides of the trail and would accompany the pipeline everywhere it goes. Iconic views of pristine wilderness would be marred by the MVP’s barren service corridor.

But it’s not just the view that would be at risk.

Pipelines leak, and they leak a lot. From 1986 to 2013, pipelines have spilled more than 3 million gallons of hazardous liquids around the country. That’s equivalent to leaking 200 barrels every day.

These leaks have devastating impacts on the environment and nearby communities, and it breaks my heart to imagine them in that Virginia wilderness.

Even if the MVP never leaks, it will still hurt communities. With the MVP would come three new compressor stations, which subject communities to air pollution, groundwater contamination, and unsafe noise levels.

As if these threats aren’t enough, building the pipeline would also set a dangerous precedent for development on our public lands. The pipeline would undermine the Forest Service’s Roadless Rule, which protects 58.5 million acres of public lands from development, and carve out 3.4 miles of Jefferson National Forest.

If this pipeline gets built, many more forests would be at risk.

The threats posed by the Mountain Valley Pipeline are grave, but they’re not unique. What’s going on in my home state of Virginia is a microcosm of what’s happening around the country.

Pipelines are spreading around the country like wildfire. And the Trump administration’s long-awaited infrastructure plan, unveiled this February, would turn many protected areas into firewood.

If approved, the plan would make it easier than ever before to run pipelines through national parks. It would push states to hastily grant permits to pipeline projects, and completely undermine the environmental review procedures that safeguard our environment from the destructive forces of pipelines.

The thing is, these pipelines often aren’t even necessary. Even without the MVP, Virginia’s existing natural gas infrastructure would cover our energy needs well into the future. But even if this wasn’t the case, the tradeoffs simply wouldn’t be worth it — not in Virginia, and not anywhere else.

I’m an Eagle Scout from Virginia, and I know that more pipelines aren’t what America needs.

Griffin Bird is a Next Leader on the Climate Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Distributed by OtherWords.org.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 23, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Why Boris Johnson is Even More Dangerous Than Trump
Christopher Ketcham
The American West as Judeo-Christian Artifact
Jack Heyman
Whitewashing American History: the WPA Mural Controversy in San Francisco
David Mattson
Through the Climate Looking Glass into Grizzly Wonderland
David Macaray
Paul Krassner and Me
Thomas Knapp
Peckerwood Populism is About Political Strategy, Not Personal Belief
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange and His Wiki Wicked leaks
Howard Lisnoff
What Has Happened to the U.S. Since the Kids Left Woodstock?
Victor Grossman
“How Could They?” Why Some Americans Were Drawn to the Communist Party in the 1940s
Gary Leupp
Minnesota, White People, Lutherans and Ilhan Omar
Binoy Kampmark
Lunar Narratives: Landing on the Moon, Politics and the Cold War
Richard Ward
Free La Donalda!
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail