The pipeline would bring natural gas through North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. NC WARN, Clean Water for NC and Beyond Extreme Energy are some of the groups sponsoring the protests.
Hope Taylor, executive director of Clean Water for NC, will be attending the protests.
“One of our biggest concerns is environmental justice, that is, really disproportionate impact on communities of color,” Taylor said.
She said many of the counties where the pipeline would be located are part of a region known as the Black Belt, where the populations are primarily made up of African-American communities and farmers.
“This is going to affect how they use their land, as well as their good quality of life, both during construction and potentially afterwards,” she said.
Aaron Ruby, spokesperson for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said the landowner retain ownership of the land and will reach an easement agreement that grants Dominion and Duke Energy the right to build and operate the pipeline.
“Farmers do continue growing crops and raise livestock right on top of the pipeline,” he said.
Ruby said the pipeline is needed to provide affordable electricity, home heating and power to the state.
Steven Norris, an activist with Beyond Extreme Energy, said his primary concern is climate change.
“If we don’t stop extracting and burning fossil fuels immediately, it’s quite likely that the climate is going to go out of control,” he said.
Both Taylor and Norris said the pipeline is not necessary. Taylor said Transco, a pipeline running through western North Carolina, is sufficient for gas supplies.
“There is really no local benefit for this pipeline,” she said.
Taylor said only 18 jobs would be created in North Carolina, but a report by IFC International, commissioned by Dominion, said 925 jobs will be supported by the operation of the pipeline in the state.
Ruby said the numbers differ because there are direct and indirect jobs that are going to be created.
He said direct jobs include people working to operate the pipeline on an ongoing basis.
“That number on the long term is going to be relatively minor compared to the number of indirect jobs that are going to be created from the haul of the new industries that the pipeline is going to attract to the region,” he said.
Norris said the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will promote more fossil fuel extraction and degradation of the planet.
“We are not going to avoid climate change; climate change is happening.”