by Kevin Campbell, MLPA Director and WVEC board member
Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance was started in 2013 to bring the facts to the public, and local governmental bodies. We described the permanent environmental damage that is occurring due to the construction of these unnecessary pipelines being built on the backs of electric utility ratepayers when the majority of the gas will be exported for corporate profit. We presented facts with experts regarding hydrology, property values, explosion hazards, source water protection, traffic and crime related to transient workers. We communicated with every property owner on the routes in three counties.
We did baseline water testing upstream and downstream of the tributaries that feed multiple watersheds. We spent countless hours preparing information packets to present to county commissions.
When we realized they were not reading them we started doing lengthy oral presentations. We lobbied in Charleston and Washington. We joined the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and helped create and joined organizations like Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) and Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR). We fought the pipeline giants for years, constantly being told “you can’t stop them.”
Finally, in 2016, we got buy-in from Sierra Club. With financial resources and multiple lawsuits we were able to impact the Atlantic Coast Pipeline financially. At last estimate we cost them $2.5 billion.
Sadly our founder April Pierson-Keating succumbed to metastatic breast cancer on September 28, 2019, just 10 days after returning from the Sierra Club National Meeting in Oakland, CA. She did not live to see the fruit of her labor and celebrate the victory.