In 2015, energy companies across the US Mid-Atlantic region announced plans to build a 550 mile fracked-gas pipeline through the Shenandoah Valley. The pipeline would collect fracked gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Ohio, Pennslyvania and West Virginia, and transport them for refinement in North Carolina.
Companies taking part in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project include Dominion Power, Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas.
The pipeline is currently scheduled to go through indigenous and African American burial grounds.
Landownders, local environmental justice organizations, students and indigenous groups have mobilized a network of collective action, as well as organized street demonstrations and blockades.
While mobilization has been coming from local, grassroots coalitions such as Richmond Resistance and Free Nelson, national NGOs such as Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club have voiced their opposition as well. Activism began in 2015, a train in West Virginia carrying 25 cars of crude oil derailed onto a riverbank and exploded.
Hundreds of tons of flaming crude oil were dumped into the river. This industrial spill, which is one of several recent fossil-fuel related accidents in the Appalachia Region, inspired mobilizations for climate justice and divestment from fossil fuels in the region.
On Monday, Feb 23 2015 over 50 people blockaded the entrance to the headquarters of energy company Dominion Power in Richmond, Virginia. Ten individuals were arrested in the action which brought unprecedented media attention to the question of natural gas in the historic Shenandoah Valley.