Kayakers 'Paddle Against the Pipeline' on the James River

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Paddle Against the Pipeline group Paddle Against the Pipeline group
Participant in Paddle Against Pipeline Participant in Paddle Against Pipeline
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud Heidi Dhivya Berthoud
Malik Olson Malik Olson
Andrew Rodriguez Andrew Rodriguez

A group of kayakers is paddling the James River to highlight the effects proposed pipeline projects could have on the water.

The "Paddle Against the Pipeline" is working its way towards Richmond to communicate the consequences of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. 

"You have a 42 inch pipeline. If that leaks or explodes you have to vent all of that and all of that goes out into our drinking water our air our soil,” said Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, Kayaker. 

“We're going to the seat of power in Richmond to deliver the message that...we need to preserve our environment. We need to protect our people and our children and that these pipelines are a terribly bad idea," said Malik Olson, Kayaker.

The group of kayakers is paddling down the James River a total of around 80 miles.

The trip started at Yogaville in Buckingham County and will end near Richmond, the hub of Dominion Energy, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Governor Terry McAuliffe.

"It’s not just rural communities that are impacted by the construction of this pipeline. It’s Richmond too because these waters...all of our waters are connected,” said Laney Sullivan, Organizer. 

The group wants the DEQ to do an individual stream analysis.

"We know that if they (DEQ) did the right thing...they would say 'yeah this pipeline has too much impact on our water and it’s not worth it,” said Berthoud. 

Kayaker Andrew Rodriguez works on a farm and says it’s important that the land remain pristine. 

"To have industrial construction and runoff and pollutants, inadvertently make its way into the food that I then give and sell to friends and community members. It’s not what I would like to happen,” said Andrew Rodriguez, Kayaker.

The group plans to arrive in the Richmond area on Thursday, September 7 where they are planning a series of actions.
We reached out to Governor McAuliffe, the Department of Environmental Quality, and Dominion Energy, but have not gotten a response yet. 

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