Valley pipeline protesters react to those arrested in Richmond

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Protests against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline continued in the Valley Wednesday evening after 23 people were arrested in Richmond earlier Wednesday for protesting against future pipelines.

Jennifer Lewis, who is president of Friends of Augusta, a group in Augusta County opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, had these words to say in reaction to the arrest: "Them putting their lives on the line for the cause is really respectable and admirable, so I want to say 'thank you' to them."

On Wednesday, 23 pipeline protesters were peacefully arrested for blocking the gate to the governor's mansion in Richmond. They claimed that McAuliffe could protect us from pipelines and climate change, but has not done so.

Lewis said the arrest made in Richmond doesn't stop her group protesting here in the Valley. "It gives us the strength to come out here and keep fighting the fight at Dominion's headquarters in Staunton and there down at the McAullife mansion in Richmond, so all over the state are actions today," Lewis said.

Lewis, along with those protesting in Richmond said their main reason for opposing is the safety of the water supply. "Once we lose our water, how are we going to use the toilet, shower, cook, clean. I mean all of our basic necessities revolve around water," said Lewis.

We reached out to Dominion for comment on the protests. Their media relations manger, Aaron Ruby wrote back to us saying in part:

"We respect everyone’s right to express their views, but we fundamentally disagree with anyone who says we can eliminate natural gas from our economy and still have electricity and home heating for all Virginians. That’s just totally unrealistic. There are millions of Virginians who will have cleaner electricity and more affordable home heating because of this pipeline. Thousands of Virginians will have better-paying jobs because of the new industries it will bring. Every single Virginian will have lower energy costs because of it. Without the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, we simply will not have enough energy to support a growing population and a growing economy. We also won’t be able to make the transition from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas, which is the single most important thing we can do right now to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in Virginia. This pipeline is going to bring real, meaningful progress to many people’s lives, and we’re committed to moving forward."

Lewis said the support from people in the community and across the country keeps them fighting everyday.

"We're just encouraged by all the movement right now in the country about pipelines and fossil fuels," said Lewis.

Lewis said they plan to protest every Wednesday for the rest of the month.