Pipelines and Prisoners, A Real Connection

At the heart of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is capitalism and those who are willing to do anything to make a dollar. The two multi billion dollar pipelines are being pursued by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for obvious financial benefits at the expense of Virginia waters among many other things. Their thirst for profit comes at a total disregard for how future generations will be affected by their treatment of the environment. This is a 600 mile project crossing rivers, streams, and forests and is an extreme threat to Virginia’s water supply. What has not been talked about is how prisons will be affected by this.

Some prisons are already dealing with both toxic water and water shortage problems. Many towns where prisons are located already suffer from water problems due to the enormous amounts of water used by overcrowded prisons, and prisons are frequently placed on water restrictions. What’s going to happen when the MVP is added to the equation? This is known by those who have the power to remedy the problem but the solution will affect their bottom line so they turn a blind eye to it all.

The type of mentality exemplified by Atlantic Coast Pipeline towards the environment is the same as that adopted by those who advocate Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) which has resulted in mass incarceration. These individuals have not thought of the damage to future generations that has been caused by mass incarceration. From 1995 to present TIS is the pipeline that has desecrated our communities and proceeds to do so and I have no doubt that if the MVP is allowed, 20 years from now we will face an environmental crisis just like the one we face with mass incarceration. In the same way that the MVP will damage the natural resources, TIS has already damaged the human resources. We must recognize the connection and then work together to solve these and other problems holistically. – Hassan Shabazz, VAPOC

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