Many people have asked me, “How do you think Saturday went?” I’ve shared my honest opinion: “As good as it could have gone! We had beautiful weather, no incidents or injuries, and lots of folks from Franklin County and beyond (including Roanoke, Montgomery, Floyd, Pittsylvania, Richmond & North Carolina!).” Preserve Franklin issued a formal Press Release during the event as shared below. We will continue to speak and work hard to bring the concerns and issues surrounding the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline to light. A special thank you to those of you who came in support and friends of Four Corners Farm… we are so grateful!
A Franklin County Grassroots Organization Opposing Pipelines NEWS RELEASE
Web Address: PreserveFranklin.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2015
Music Festival draws crowd for fun, food, and friends to Flatline the Pipeline
This afternoon, people from all over Virginia and even from as far as North Carolina gathered at a farm in Franklin County to enjoy local music, local food and local arts — but especially comradery. Preserve Franklin, a grassroots group of citizens that has steadily grown since its conception in November 2014, decided to offer a different venue for the pipeline questions and discussions. Monthly meetings at a local church in Rocky Mount have attracted some landowners and others who have a concern about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline; but today, a musical rally cry was heard, “We don’t want your pipeline! We don’t want your pipeline! We’ll take the sunshine, the water and wind. We’re gonna put a stop sign on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Go tell your neighbors! Go tell your friends!”
Carolyn Reilly of Four Corners Farm, along with her family, hosted the event for Franklin County and the surrounding region, stated, “After seven months of involvement and committed time volunteering with Preserve Franklin, our family was ready to try something BIG – something to reach out to the greater community and especially those who aren’t aware of the REAL issues and concerns about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. Preserve Franklin was also looking for ideas to raise funds to help educate and share the truth. And so, Flatline the Pipeline Music and Arts Festival was born. In just under eight weeks, many of us have worked together to bring this exciting and unifying event to Franklin County.”
Brach Rauchle, lead musician of URTH, had an active role in planning the event; his genuine interest and concerns inspired Brach to come up with the festival name: “Flatline the Pipeline!” He said, “The proposed pipeline will drastically impact so many of us in VA & WV all simply to pad the wallets of executives in a couple of huge natural gas companies abusing and misusing eminent domain laws. There will be ZERO benefit to citizens despite the ridiculously vague lies perpetuated by these corporations which hope to manipulate the uninformed with easily refutable misinformation.”
“Flatline the Pipeline” attracted young people as well. Youth came for the bands, but also because of a desire to understand the impact of the proposed MVP. Jonas Reilly, son of Carolyn & Ian Reilly, is 15 years old and shared, “People need to come together. That’s what this event is about. It’s to inform people, to bring awareness to those who don’t know or understand. Our own local Government doesn’t understand. The Franklin County Board of Supervisors do not care about their own citizens’ property. I mean, one of our friends house is within fifty feet of the proposed route. I just wonder if the MVP employees feel that something is wrong with what they’re doing. I wonder if they know that what they are being paid to do will hurt so many people’s lives, businesses, land and homes. If this pipeline comes through here, or anywhere, it will destroy a beautiful, rural part of America, our home.”
Neighbor to Four Corners Farm and retired civil engineer, Guy Buford, expressed similar feelings toward the Franklin County Board of Supervisors; “I sent a personal letter to the home of each supervisor last December explaining my concerns about the pipeline and requesting that they take a position opposed to the pipeline and pass a motion to that effect. Here we are almost 6 months later, we have made presentations at every meeting, and there’s been no action by the board and not a single response to my December letter or to any of our monthly presentations.”
Despite the discouraging relationship with local government, Preserve Franklin members were determined to have an event that brought the community together to enjoy music and the arts while also raising awareness and funds to press forward.
According to Mara Robbins, Virginia Community Organizer for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Preserve Franklin has been effective in their outreach and education. “They have worked together and fostered solidarity amongst a diverse population. Franklin County—and all the local communities in the region— deserve the right to say no to projects that threaten their way of life and they deserve the right to define that with their local government—after all, we are a nation by, of and for the people. It only makes sense to exercise community veto power over projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
Whitney Whiting of Richmond, VA, expressed her view as a fellow opponent to gas pipelines, “I think it’s important that people in southwestern Virginia know that there are so many of us who, though we may not be your immediate neighbors, are with you in this fight through and through. We all call Virginia home. When Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline was announced a year ago I was amazed to realize that nearly every portion of it was going through a place that I hold dear, that I have memories of, places where I and my friends, comrades, and closest loved ones call home. But it’s not just about one pipeline anymore. It’s about the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, it’s about where our rivers trace their source, it’s about Buckingham County and Brunswick County, Franklin County, Mongtomery, Nelson, Cove Point. It’s about a system of energy extraction that is trying to make us sacrifice these mountains, these rivers, our homes, an industry that holds our basic needs over our heads, making us feel guilty for demanding better – as if we should have to choose between clean water or keeping ourselves warm in the winter. This is not just about our own backyards; this is not about finding a more preferable route. There is no longer a preferable route for fracked gas in this state. No fracking, no pipelines, anywhere.”
Robbins added with passion, “Community is stronger than corporations. We must turn to our local government and demand that they pursue and protect our interests and stop advocating for the highest bidder. This is not a done deal. It takes all of us. And just look at how we’ve all come together!”
Preserve Franklin is a group of concerned citizens taking a stand for landowner rights against the abuse of eminent domain by private companies and against the environmental and safety risks of gas pipelines.