Indigenous Leaders From Nova Scotia Join CCAN Action Fund in DC to Denounce Washington Gas

Indigenous leaders share their stories of protecting sacred land from the false claims and reckless pipeline plans of Washington Gas’s parent company AltaGas

Washington, D.C. – Last Thursday, two grandmothers from the Mi’kmaq tribe in Nova Scotia – Cheryl and April Maloney – joined CCAN Action Fund and other environmental and community groups to decry immoral gas giant Washington Gas, which has been trying to bleed DMV residents for cash while keeping the region hooked on unhealthy, climate-warming methane gas. These courageous and experienced indigenous leaders shared their story of defeating Alta Gas, the parent company of Washington Gas, when it tried to build methane gas infrastructure that would impact their sacred river. Cheryl Maloney described her experiences – which included civil disobedience, ancestral guidance, being threatened by the gas company, using citizen science to disprove corporate lies, and more –  to a captive audience of over 75 people at Foundry United Methodist Church.  

This powerful event featuring the moving and foreboding stories of these Indigenous grandmothers was sponsored by: CCAN Action Fund, Nature Forward, Sierra Club DC Chapter, D.C. Environmental Network, Third Act D.C., We Power D.C., Extinction Rebellion Washington DC, and Interfaith Power & Light DC MD NoVa. The groups are working together to advocate for an end to Washington Gas’s dangerous Project Pipes initiative, a more than $12 billion project that would cause exponential increases in local gas bills and lock the District into decades more of polluting methane gas while diverting attention away from more immediate pipeline safety issues.

Cheryl Maloney, leader of the Mi’kmaq-led campaign to Stop Alton Gas, said: 

“Corporations, including gas companies like AltaGas, don’t have feelings. They don’t care. Their job is to go to the highest bidder, and they did that at the expense of my tribe, the Mi’kmaq. They don’t drink water. They don’t swim in the sea. So why would we ever trust them? There should not be corporate Canada or corporate United States being our answer to climate change. We need to honor the earth, first and foremost; while there is still a planet intact to honor.”

With years of advocacy resulting in an unheard-of success against AltaGas, these experienced international change-makers undoubtedly displayed that through the power of community opposition and coalition building, corporate greed can be defeated in the courtroom.  

Mike Tidwell, Founder of CCAN Action Fund, said: 

“Against all odds, the leaders of the Mi’kmaq campaign managed to defeat a nearly $200 million methane gas pipeline, a project proposed by AltaGas – the same gas company that owns Washington Gas. AltaGas ignored their treaty rights; promised all kinds of jobs that were fictitious; and said the gas would benefit their community even though they didn’t even use gas. Washington Gas has been similarly reckless. They’ve been fined for lying and for marketing gas as clean. They have been threatened with an $8 million fine in DC because they promised to bring 10 MW of renewable energy to the District, which they have not done. So all these promises, these lies, deceptions – it’s happening here too. “

Jessica Swann, Piscataway Conoy Tribe member, said: 

“As stewards of the land, we have to continue to protect this land in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia as best as we can. As a member of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, I already have a sore spot because of the land that was stolen. And we haven’t been able to stand up to major corporations – that don’t ask for anyone’s permission – all on our own; we need support in order to continue this fight. To protect what we have here and to keep it as sacred as we can.” 

Click here to watch a recording of the broadcast, which featured dynamic archival footage from the Mi’kmaq resistance campaign.

Residents take home free “Stop Project Pipes” Yard Signs to display in their yards.Jessica Swann, Piscataway Conoy Tribe member, gives the crowd an introduction to the indigenous history of the region.
Community members sign a “Stop Project Pipes” petition.Over 75 Washingtonians came out to the Foundry Church in DC to hear the Indigenous Grandmothers tell their story of resistance.

More photos from the event can be found here.


The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund is dedicated to driving change in public policies at the local, state, and national level to address the climate crisis. Through voter education, lobbying, and participation in the electoral process, we seek to advance our country’s leadership in the global movement toward clean energy solutions — focusing our efforts primarily in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.