Atlantic Coast Pipeline Roils Democratic Unity
There is mounting evidence of an increasing divide among Democrats as environmental liberals seek to pressure Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam over his position on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).
NBC29 reports that protesters took the streets of Charlottesville at a local Albemarle Democratic Party meeting Saturday morning in an effort to question and increasingly pressure Northam to disavow fracking and any pipeline efforts:
“You can’t just talk out of both sides of your mouth and say you’re pro-environment and pro-pipeline, those things don’t go together, at all,” Jennifer Lewis, president of Friends of Augusta, said. “Pipelines burst, they leak, they explode, if you have one leak in a water source and it’s gonna go down stream, and it’s gonna end up in the bay.”
The anxiety for Lewis is that Northam is on record as having supported the pipeline and being a recipient of Dominion donations. She represents a significant movement within the Democratic party that is vehemently opposed to fossil fuels.
“In a perfect world I would love to see our Democratic governor candidate return the money he’s gotten from Dominion and come out against the pipelines,” Lewis said.
Northam, to his credit, is trying to assuage the concerns of this Sanders-Perriello wing of the party by traveling Virginia with his wife and holding focus groups.
“In the next few weeks, my wife, Pam, who’s an environmentalist, and I will be traveling around Virginia, not only to Charlottesville, but to places like Nelson County, Staunton, places that are affected by the pipeline and really sit down and bring people to the table and figure out how we can move forward in the best way,” Northam said.
Notable in the report is that Lewis is also the vice chair of the Waynesboro Democratic Committee and she says that she will not vote for Northam as long as he maintains his current position on ACP.
Of course, there is a candidate in the gubernatorial race who does support her ideas on ACP: Cliff Hydra, the Libertarian nominee.
Given Northam’s need for support from this base of the party, will he move his position further left?