Monacan Tribe Speaks Out Against Proposed Pump Station in Louisa
LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A project designed to support more development in Fluvanna and Louisa counties is at a standstill.
Members of the Monacan tribe say the proposed plans for a water pump station in Point of Fork would disrupt a sacred site. On Tuesday, tribe leaders had stern words for members of the James River Water Authority during an emotional public hearing. Many tribe members expressed their concerns over the project - urging for its immediate relocation.
Right now, the authority is awaiting a permit for the project from the Army Corps of Engineers. There have been some delays because of the site's historic categorization.
The water pump station is slated to be in Point of Fork - a site formerly home to the Monacan town of Rassawek. Louisa County had hoped to come to an agreement with the Monacans to build on the land.
"The site was specifically selected because it was the least impactful site along the James," said JRWA consultant Steve Nichols. "The problem is if you find any place along the James River, it's where the indigenous people, and then settlers after them, worked and lived and made their livelihoods."
Now, the tribe is speaking out - saying they will not accept anything other than the pump's relocation.
"Federal, state, and local governments try to write us out of history," Chief of the Monacan tribe Kenneth Branham. "I don't think anybody would like to see their ancestors dug up."
Louisa and Fluvanna counties need the project to move forward in order to pull water from the James River. They say the additional water is needed to support economic growth.
"We will never be happy with any decision other than complete removal," Branham said.
Attorneys say the project could move forward without an agreement with the tribe and if that happens, tribe lawyers plan to file a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers.