The Reverend Weston Mathews, associate rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Richmond, Va., and a contributing editor to Episcopal Cafe, was one of ten people arrested on Monday for protesting the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline over 550 miles in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
The protest included a blockade of Virginia Dominion Power following the Richmond People’s Climate March, and an interfaith prayer vigil.
[Mathews] told ThinkProgress that he allowed himself to get arrested because he thinks nonviolent direct action is needed to send the message to Dominion that Virginians aren’t in favor of the pipeline. Running a natural gas pipeline — one with proposed routes that take it through George Washington National Forest and over the Appalachian Trail — through Virginia would be “devastating” to the people and environment in the state, he said.
Matthews also said his religious beliefs played in to his decision to protest the pipeline.
“Being an Episcopal priest who believes creation is blessed and good, it’s my job to stand up or it,” he said. “The integrity of creation matters a lot to me.”
WTVR also covered the story:
The group, some dressed in costumes, carried environmentally political signs that expressed sentiments about fracking and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The ACP is a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that will travel through the state, including national forests, the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway.
The project is backed by Dominion Virginia Power, Duke Energy, and Piedmont Natural Gas and has yet to be approved by the Federal Regulatory Commission. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced his support of the project in Sept. 2014 and called the project “good for the environment.”
The broadcast version of WVTR’s reporting includes an interview with Fr. Mathews. Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett