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Protests Held in Support and Against Pipeline Executive Orders

Posted: Updated: Feb 11, 2017 05:11 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Students across Virginia are standing up to President Trump's action to kick-start the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline projects

On Monday at the University of Virginia, they rallied outside The Rotunda to demand a halt to these projects.

Students say building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia would cause irreversible damage.

More than 50 students and people from the community marched in the protest. People started gathering outside the Special Collections Library on Grounds and then marched toward The Rotunda. 

The protest was organized by the Climate Action Society and the Native American Student Union.

Students held signs that read, 'we only have one earth' and chanted, "not here, not there, no new pipeline."

They say moving forward with the pipelines will affect everyone, not just the people who live in the Dakotas.

"Environmental issues, environmental justice affects everybody. And I may not be Native American and I'm not one of the African-Americans who lives in this area, but I look at their situation and I feel compassion for them," said Joyce Cheng, a Climate Action Society member.

Students also signed up to join the Climate Action Society and were encouraged to call state representatives opposing the pipelines.

On the flipside, those in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline held a rally in Richmond.

Representatives of major labor groups in Virginia gathered in support of the planned pipeline arguing jobs and economic prosperity will flow out of this project.

Members of Virginia State Building & Construction Trades Council held a news conference in Capitol Square. Pipeline supporters say they expect thousands of Virginians to be employed during and after construction.

They also expect new businesses to be drawn to the commonwealth's growing energy stream.

"It's all about building an America. It's about redoing our infrastructure. It's about creating jobs, and that's what this project does," said Matt Yonka, the President Virginia State Building & Construction Trades Council. 

Pipeline advocates also believe these types of projects will move the United States away from reliance on other countries. They also are of the opinion the pipeline is safer than transporting other types of energy.

One supporter pointed to the Lynchburg train derailment of 2014. That accident caused an explosion and oil to leak into the James River. Labor groups said they think the impact of a pipeline on the environment would be minimal.

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