Floyd County Citizens Claim Rights to Local Choice

A prepared statement by Fred First / Preserve Floyd / 12 February 2015

Floyd County citizens were alarmed when the Mountain Valley Pipeline seemed likely to lay a long scar across the places we hold dear, threatening our water, the value and full enjoyment and use of our property and our way of life.

Along with many of our sister counties in Southwest Virginia, we have a long and close relationship with these mountains. They are the foundation of the notion of who we are together. Where we live is who we are, you might say.

So we were—and are--resistant to the notion that the fate of our fields, forests and wetlands might be determined in corporate board rooms and political conference rooms and not, after all, in our own living rooms.

In rejecting the Mountain Valley and other pipelines in our back yard and in all back yards, we take a step towards an era when carbon fuels no longer threaten our planet with runaway overheating and the consequences of extreme thermal and chemical changes to which 7 billion people and their crops cannot adapt.

And so I have come here today to express a grievance on behalf of many Floyd County citizens that the power of politically-supported corporations is too often overwhelming the will of communities like Floyd in nearby counties that are represented here today, and increasingly from across the country.

We reject the notion that the fate of any community's future rests with those who place too low a value on the genuine perpetual best interests of that community’s natural, physical and cultural well-being.

We are here today to be heard. Should we remain passive and silent, our people and our land will get the undesirable future that others chose for us. If we acquiesce to the “public good” as judged by corporate and cold political interests alone then we must be content to confront a dangerous and disordered future. We are not content to do so.

Standing for the rights of our ecosystems’ future health is an appropriate action towards the reshaping of our economy. The goal is our common well-being, moving with hope and determination away from a profit-and-growth model that is destroying us from the top down.

We insist that communities hold the rights to offer their children a future in place, able to judge what is the best use for their land and for the commons they share with all.