Pipeline Hold-Ups and Farming While Black


On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll visit a plantation owned by a villainized African-American woman, and we’ll hear the latest on halted construction of both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Federal regulators halted construction of the 604-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Friday. It’s the second major natural gas pipeline under construction in West Virginia to receive a stop-work order in the last month.

Federal officials also shut down construction of the Mountain Valley pipeline.

In both cases, officials cited recent rulings by the federal U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals as the reason for halting work. Since getting the green light from federal regulators last year, more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the two major pipelines. They touch on everything from landowner rights to compliance with a slew of federal laws.

Ellen Gilmer is a legal reporter who’s been following litigation for E&E News, a Washington, D.C.-based news organization that covers energy and environment issues. Reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Gilmer about some of the recent decisions and how the courts are fundamentally changing the natural gas pipeline buildout occurring in Appalachia.     

Our latest episode of Inside Appalachia highlights the life and work of a woman from Georgia named Shirley Sherrod. She’s devoted her life to helping black farmers in the South. Up next, we’ll hear an excerpt of this episode, a story produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2015. The first voice you’ll hear is producer Tina Antolinii, as Sherrod shows her the land that her family has farmed for generations.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our news director is Jesse Wright. Our producer is Glynis Board.