An Open Letter to Delegate Chris Hurst and Montgomery County Supervisor Mary Biggs

Dear Delegate Hurst and Supervisor Biggs,

The New River Valley Green Party is shocked and disappointed to hear that you have endorsed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe to become the next Governor of Virginia. During his time as Governor, McAuliffe was a heavy supporter of the Mountain Valley (MVP) and Atlantic Coast pipelines (ACP). His decision in 2014 to back the pipelines has led to immense suffering across rural Virginia, especially here in the Southwest. Local landowners have told us about the devastation wrought by the MVP. We have watched as the company behind the MVP has destroyed farm land, forcibly taken land without fair compensation, threatened endangered species, irresponsibly sought to cut corners with state and federal permitting, polluted our water with chemicals and sediment, risked explosion and leakage, and ruined the peace of mind of thousands of residents.

In conversations with you, in your actions, in your statements, and in your campaigns you seemed to grasp the seriousness of this threat.

Delegate Hurst, you campaigned in 2017 and 2019 on your opposition to the pipelines. On March 18, 2019, you send a letter to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which called for an immediate “stop work” order on pipeline construction. In this letter, you said, “I applauded the efforts [during the 2018 Legislative Session] to enact emergency legislation to address concerns the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would potentially harm existing stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control laws…Unfortunately, the landowners in my district and many others cannot continue to guess what it will take for a reasonable stop work order for the Mountain Valley pipeline project.” You went on, “Clearly there is evidence of violations and a lack of seriousness on the part of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC…What remains unclear is a lack of action to enforce these laws today.”

Supervisor Biggs, you signed, along with your colleagues on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, a resolution explicitly condemning the MVP in Montgomery County, That resolution resolved the following, “that the Board of Supervisors hereby oppose the proposed route of the Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline…because of the proposed route’s adverse impacts on developed residences in the Brush Mountain Estates and Preston Forest Subdivisions within the proposed corridor and on the scenic, recreational and sensitive environmental areas in Montgomery County and that these adverse impacts to the County of Montgomery far outweigh any economic benefit the County might receive from the construction of the pipeline.”

Despite these correct and much-needed statements, you have endorsed former Gov. McAuliffe, the politician most directly responsible for the MVP. This endorsement is inconsistent with your track records as opponents of the pipeline and makes it difficult for our organization to provide support for your candidacies in the future.

The New River Valley Green Party

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