A small group of environmental activists yesterday joined a nationwide protest effort designed to call attention to the climate change implications of the Keystone XL pipeline, but turned its focus controversial project closer to home.
Members of 350 Loudoun gathered at the Rt. 7/River Creek Parkway interchange to display banners opposing construction of the North-South Corridor, which would link and widen series of road segments to link I-95 in Prince William county to Rt. 7, via Belmont Ridge Road.
Jerry Stewart, of Aldie, said the group in joining with the Piedmont Environmental Council and other critics who have charged the project would divert funds from other needed transportation improvements and spur sprawl development, but the protesters especially want to add into the debate concerns the North-South Corridor and other “fossil fuel infrastructure” projects like it would contribute to global warming and increase carbon emissions.
Stewart said it is not just residents along the corridor alignment who should be about the project, but all residents worried about the environmental impacts. “We need to stop building infrastructure that drives fossil fuel expansion, from the Outer Beltway to the Keystone XL pipeline, and start building clean transportation and energy solutions.”
Leesburg Town Councilwoman Kelly Burk joined the protest. She said the town will continue to opposed the road project because it threatens to dump traffic from i-95 and Prince William County onto Rt. 7 and then through Leesburg. “The town is furious,” she said “This road is wrong. It is wrong for Loudoun County. It is wrong for Leesburg. And it is wrong for the citizens."
The group stood along the highway for about an hour. They held signs and two large banners reading “No Outer Beltway” and “Draw The Line For Smart Growth.”