Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline halted amid challenges

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Elliston, VA — The Construction:  Construction of the natural gas pipeline halted. Photo: Denashia Dunnaville
By Denashia Dunnaville October 21, 2019

The Mountain Valley Pipeline was recently hit with a $2.15 million fine, a cease order, and a helicopter protest that is slowing down the construction of the pipeline.

Mountain Valley Pipeline is set to pay $2.15 million to resolve a lawsuit that stated the pipeline construction repeatedly violated environmental standards. The lawsuit was filed in December by the Virginia Attorney General, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the State Water Control Board.

According to Attorney General Mark Herring, the agreement also requires Mountain Valley Pipeline to be placed under court-ordered and supervised compliance with environmental laws during the rest of the construction period.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also instructed the pipeline company to cease all construction immediately. FERC’s order came after the pipeline lost three permits due to environmental concerns.

FERC has approved requests from the pipeline allowing the company to stabilize the construction sites in West Virginia but has not yet approved other work.

While this is not beneficial to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, many of the pipeline protestors are rejoicing in the news. One group, Appalachians Against Pipelines, has protested the Mountain Valley Pipeline since 2018.

The group consists of community members protesting the pipeline using signs, tree-sits, and blockades. At the beginning of October, one member locked herself to a Mountain Valley Pipeline helicopter near Elliston, VA. The banner on the helicopter read “doom the pipeline”.

In a statement on Facebook, the anonymous demonstrator said, “I took action today in an attempt to slow the construction of this destructive pipeline project.”

She was released from jail after paying a $15,000 bail. The protester says the money raised by Appalachians Against Pipelines was vital to her release.

The pipeline is planned to run through Southwest Virginia into West Virginia. According to the Mountain Valley Pipeline project schedule, the natural gas pipeline was set to be operational by October 1st, the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is now set to be completed by mid-2020.

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Safety first in the NRV

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Christiansburg, Va — The Hub: The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office serves Montgomery County, the Town of Christiansburg and Blacksburg, and the Virginia Tech Campus. Photo:  Mongomery County VA website
Montgomery County hoping to keep the New River Valley community safe.
By Denashia Dunnaville      October 7, 2019

Montgomery County implementing policies to keep the New River Valley community safe. If residents find themselves in dangerous situations, there is a new way to contact 9-1-1 emergency services. Also, the sheriff’s department has safe places for individuals to conduct exchanges.

The New River Valley Emergency Communication Authority (NRV911) recently implemented Text-to-911 technology. It allows individuals to report emergencies, who are in dangerous situations and cannot safely call 9-1-1. The new service also benefits those who are deaf, hearing impaired, or have a speech impediment.

Calling 9-1-1 may still be the best way to report an emergency, but the texting service allows a new form of communication with the police department. If you plan on using the service, be sure to provide your exact location and a brief, concise description of your emergency.

The new program may prove to be beneficial to the New River Valley especially since the area is experiencing a crime increase. According to the Virginia State Police 2018 Crime Publication, crime is down in the state of Virginia. However, violent crimes increased in the New River Valley. Violent crimes went up by 10.5 percent from 2017.

While the crime rate did increase in the New River Valley, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is hoping to decrease some crime with “safe exchange zones”.

“Safe exchange zones” are meant to keep people safe when meeting buyers and sellers from online websites like Facebook or Craigslist. These safe exchange zones are meant to prevent theft, fraud, or the more extreme dangers that could be possible when meeting a stranger. The dangers that come with online transactions are all too common. In 2015, one Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville student was found dead after attempting to sell his car on Craigslist.

The zones are lit up and monitored by cameras 24 hours a day. This allows online transactions to occur at any time of the day and can ensure both parties meet in a place that prevents potentially vulnerable situations. The exchange zones are also used for child custody drop-offs. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is considering introducing more ‘safe exchange zones’ because it is already proving to be beneficial in Christiansburg.

As for now, there is work being done to ensure residents in the New River Valley live in a safe area. Hopefully, the New River Valley will see a decrease in crime, with the new texting service and the exchange zones, by the time the 2019 Virginia State Police Crime Publication is released.

Politics: Virginia sued over marriage license requirement

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
by Denashia Dunnaville and Linda Kil

Three couples suing the Commonwealth of Virginia citing the state violated their First Amendment rights. One engaged couple attempted to get their marriage license when they were met with a form of over 200 shocking terms regarding race. The document included terms such as “Aryan”, “Quadroon”, and “Nubian”.

In this podcast, we discuss the details of this surprising case. The podcast will examine the history of the law requirement and delve into another historical case against the Commonwealth of Virginia.