Posted inEditor's Pick

The Koch Brothers vs. God

Kenya Downs | Grist and Longreads | March 14, 2018 | 2,896 words
Posted inBusiness, Current Events, Nonfiction, Story

The Koch Brothers vs. God

The fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back.
Koch Brothers, Rev. Paul Wilson
Illustration by Amelia Bates

Kenya Downs | Grist and Longreads | March 2018 | 12 minutes (2,896 words)

GristThe following Longreads Exclusive was produced in partnership with Grist.

Rev. Paul Wilson fastens enough buttons on his jacket to stay warm on a chilly fall afternoon but still keep his clergy collar visible. He’s whipping up a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Richmond, Virginia, where they’re waiting to make a short march from Richmond’s Capitol Square Bell Tower to the nearby National Theatre. His eyes covered by sunglasses, and his head by a newsboy hat, Wilson speaks to the assembled about their Christian responsibility to protect the planet.

They’ve gathered for the Water Is Life Rally & Concert, an event to protest the proposed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The development, a joint venture between several energy companies (including Richmond-based Dominion Energy), would carry natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina.

The pipeline’s proposed route runs directly between Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist churches, the two parishes where Wilson serves as pastor in rural Buckingham County, 70 miles south of Richmond. The proposed site for the pipeline’s 54,000-horsepower, gas-fired compressor station is also set to be built right between them.

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