Campaign encourages localities to divest from pipeline-supporting businesses

Published: May. 21, 2018 at 10:34 PM EDT
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An Eastern Mennonite University student is spearheading an effort to encourage local governments to divest money from corporations and banks that are invested in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Andrew Sachs spoke to a small group at the Staunton Public Library on Monday evening about his campaign Divest the Commonwealth.

"I think in the environmental movement, we have a lot of people talking to regulatory bodies, talking to elected officials, doing direct action even," said Sachs. "But a lot of times, the economics of it is left in the shadow."

The goal of Divest the Commonwealth — using economic means to achieve what Sachs calls social justice.

"We live in a world where profits dictate what happens," he said.

Resolutions have already been drafted in Arlington, Richmond, Harrisonburg and Staunton, according to Sachs.

Staunton City Council adopted a resolution against the project a few years back.

"Our citizens have made it very clear that they oppose this pipeline project," said City Council Member Erik Curren. "'I'm really interested to hear whether there's something that Staunton can do to find out whether our money is in fact doing the opposite of what we voted."

Dominion Energy estimates construction of the pipeline alone will support more than 17,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in economic activity.

Federal regulators declined to stop work altogether on the project last week after a federal appeals court

a key permit.

"Although we disagree with the outcome of the court's decision, and are evaluating our options, we are committed to working with the agency to address the concerns raised by the court's order," a Dominion spokesperson said in a statement at the time.