UVA Students Ride Across VA to Address Concerns About Pipeline

Posted: Updated: May 24, 2015 09:22 PM
University of Virginia students cycle across the state to address their concerns about Dominion's proposed pipeline. University of Virginia students cycle across the state to address their concerns about Dominion's proposed pipeline.

The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition is riding along the proposed route of Dominion's natural gas pipeline and talking to land owners along the way. They traveled 47 miles across Augusta County Sunday, ending at Sherando Lake.

College students concerned about the future of the environment began a bike ride Sunday that will stretch the width of Virginia.The goal is to get the gears turning in the movement against Dominion's proposed natural gas pipeline.

"A lot of times young people don't tend to mobilize around things, but I think that that's one of our goals is talking to our friends and talking to people that we are around and saying hey this is something that you should care about, this is something that matters," says Laura Cross, a first-year student at the University of Virginia.

While the pipeline route won't personally affect these students, they say they have plenty of reason to be concerned. "With the pollution due to fracking, that's going to change the environment that we live in, and the water that it uses, the water it pollutes. We'll see a lot more water shortages in my lifetime, and so, to me, that's something that's going to change my life experience and therefore I have a stake in this fight," says Cross.

Before embarking on their trek, the students met with land owners in Augusta County. They toured one couple's retirement property.

"We walked about a 100 feet from their front deck, and there were just these orange ribbons - that was where the pipeline was going to go. Cut underneath this beautiful little creek and you could see that there was a lot of grief when he was telling us about it," says Caroline Bray, a UVA first-year student.

It's those stories that motivate them to complete the journey from Augusta County to Norfolk.

"It's a great opportunity to take a ride and help educate people and become more educated ourselves," says Jennifer Natyzak, UVA third-year student. 

The students hope each person that sees them riding by thinks the same thing. "I would say dream big about what is possible in the state of Virginia," says Natyzak.

Sunday's ride was the longest leg of the trip for those students. They will spend the next nine days traveling more than 200 miles across Virginia. Their trip ends in Norfolk on May 19. 

Monday, the group will visit the Acorn Inn in Nelson County.

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