April 16, 2021
(please see accompanying articles linked at the bottom of this article):
A message from ELCA Pastor Gordon Myers, a Chair of the Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign:
To my friends,
As many of you know, I serve as a chair for the Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign, and right now that is pretty exciting.
We are working with a local grass-roots Memphis organization, Memphis Community Against the Pipeline (MCAP) who have come together in order to oppose the intrusion of a high-volume/high pressure crude oil pipeline proposed to go through a historic African American neighborhood already suffering from ecological devastation and a high rate of poverty.
The spokesperson for the pipeline company explained that it was projected to go through their community because it was “the path of least resistance". Their struggle to preserve their community, homes, property and water supply has come to the attention of the Poor People’s Campaign A National Call for Moral Revival.
The Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign recently wrote a letter to the Memphis City Council, which in part reads:
This crude oil pipeline is a textbook case of environmental racism, injustice, and environmental degradation. In targeting the Southwest Memphis neighborhood, and the greater Memphis area, this project hopes to force low-wealth Black communities to carry this billion-dollar corporation’s oil barrels on their backs with no public benefit. In the US, between 1986 and 2013, there have been nearly 8,000 incidents of pipeline leaks (around 300 per year). If this pipeline were to leak it would contaminate the local aquifer, which provides drinking water to Memphis and the North Mississippi counties of DeSoto and Marshall, with carcinogenic crude oil. Not only is the Byhalia Connection Pipeline plan proposing the construction of a high-pressure crude oil pipeline above your city’s water aquifer, it is along an active earthquake zone, greatly increasing the potential for a spill. In the case of an earthquake, the impacts to the community from this project would be devastating.”