Democrat anger over pipelines in Virginia continues to threaten Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam’s chances of unifying his party ahead of November’s election. On Monday, 500 anti-pipeline Democrats packed into a Department of Environmental Quality hearing in Harrisonburg to voice their opposition to the pipeline projects, for which Northam has gone on record to voice his support. Northam has been repeatedly dogged by anti-pipeline protesters at his own events, as they have picketed his office openings, interrupted him during a debate, and even hijacked the stage during his victory party on the night of the Virginia primary. With anti-pipeline Democrats showing no signs of letting up any time before the November election, Northam’s hopes of unifying his party continue to grow slimmer.
More than 130 people signed up to speak at the hearing, which lasted over four hours.At 10 pm, with more than 25 speakers still lined up to speak, Water Board member Heather Wood abruptly terminated the hearing, despite vocal protests. Wood stated that 'we don’t have any more time,' an ironic end to a hearing at which virtually every speaker demanded that DEQ not rush the review process through but instead do what state law requires it to do – assess the impact this project would have on Virginia’s environment and waterways.
In one of the more dramatic moments at the hearing, a Board-certified surgeon urged state officials to consider the health effects of the proposed pipeline. He pointed to two recent peer-reviewed publications produced by Physicians for Social Responsibility that are 'easily navigated' and voluminously footnoted” from more than 700 sources: a Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Natural Gas. Those two studies, together with the doctor’s full testimony, should be required reading for Dr. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, who has claimed repeatedly that “science should dictate” whether the pipelines are built.”