The Environment

The Environment


Rural Virginia is vulnerable to the schemes of large, out-of-state corporations that despoil the land without a stake in the consequences. Fracked-gas pipelines crisscross the district and two more are on the drawing board. High-pressure gas pipelines are a ticking time bomb for the communities they pass through. Explosions and poisonous leaks that foul the waters are all too common. Several counties are in pitched battles at the moment over new pipelines. A report from the Southern Environmental Law Center concludes that the pipelines are completely unnecessary for Virginia’s energy needs. Leslie will ensure that on the federal level, FERC will abide by the law and address the serious concerns of The Fish and Wildlife Service about the pipelines’ effect on over a thousand waterways, forests and scenic mountains that will be scarred with mountain-top removal.

She met recently with the two generations of farmers who own the sustainable family farm, Four Corners, in Franklin County. Their highly successful operation has been adding jobs in Franklin and is a much-loved part of the community. The Mountain Valley pipeline, owned by corporations from Florida and Pennsylvania, will tear up their back field. If the pipeline is built, Four Corners Farm will close its doors. The temporary jobs of pipe fitters and excavators cannot replace the sustainable employment of a growing farm and its related businesses.

Leslie has traveled the route of the Atlantic Coast pipeline through Nelson County. Profitable new businesses that provide hundreds of jobs will be adversely affected. Cideries, breweries, a ski resort and several wedding venues will have a high-pressure pipeline in their backyard. The pipeline is also slated to go through an area that was washed away in severe flooding last century. Such an event could cause catastrophic damage. In Buckingham County, the historic freedman community of Union Hill is facing the nightmare of a pipeline compressor station that could ravage their neighborhood. Even the Monacan Indian Nation is facing the invasion of one of its most sacred sites by pipeline crews. 

Land conservation must be supported in Congress. Leslie will back scenic easements to preserve family farms. She will support low taxes for farm use. She will fight to restore streams protection, so that coal ash and the five heavy metals it contains cannot poison out water. Those heavy metals can cause spontaneous abortion and severe developmental problems in children. She will vote to restore the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, under siege by Trump and his allies, to ensure clean air and water for future generations of Virginians.

Leslie will support efforts by the League of Conservation Voters to protect our land and the farmers whose livelihoods hang in the balance.

The United States is now the only nation on earth not committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Yet the US government's own assessment of climate change, the recent Climate Science Special Report, is a forceful indictment of the perils of inaction.
According to the report, all US government agencies involved in the assessment have "very high confidence" that the world's oceans are absorbing more than a quarter of the CO2 emissions every year from human activity which is making the oceans more acidic. Scientists are reasonably confident that "the rate of acidification is unparalleled in at least the past 66 million years."
The US government report says the current rate of sea level rise "is greater than any preceding century in at least 2800 years." The culprit is "human caused climate change" which has been a major contributor to sea level rise since 1900. Scientists expect sea levels this century to rise as much as eight feet.
The consensus is that the world's ice is melting. "The mean thickness of the arctic sea ice during winter between 1980-2008 has decreased between 4.3 and 7.5 feet."
We must resume our place at the table as a leader of the Paris Agreement. Otherwise, we are endangering the earth. I support the US Climate Alliance, made up of 14 states including Virginia. This Alliance pledges to advance the objectives of the Paris Agreement with or without the White House.


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