Governor McAuliffe's visit interrupted by anti-pipeline protesters

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- On Thursday, Governor Terry McAuliffe headed to Charlottesville to campaign for Hillary Clinton, but he was greeted by anti-pipeline protesters who say he's not doing enough as governor to stop the pipeline.

McAuliffe entered Charlottesville's Democratic Headquarters with applause. He thanked the dozens of volunteers in the office campaigning for the Clinton-Kaine presidential ticket.

However, before he entered the campaign office, he arrived to protesters that had a different tone.

"He is saying essentially it's a federal issue," said Lawrence Gaughan. "You have our federal elected official saying he's not going to take a position on it and then our top state elected official, the governor, saying it's a federal issue not a state issue. They're both passing the buck and that's not leadership."

Pipeline protesters say they're upset with McAuliffe and criticized him for his support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

"The governor is now telling everybody this is a federal issue and it's more than a federal issue," said Sharon Ponton. "The state has the authority to approve air perimeter permits for compressor stations and water permits for the Clean Water Act. He can have influence and deny those and stop the permit."

However, McAuliffe stood by that claim saying he has no power to stop it.

"I, as governor, have absolutely no control over it. We have two state permits, they're done by regulatory statutory authority," said McAuliffe. "If Dominion submits their proposal and they don't get approved, they're going to be denied."

He added that he supports those who oppose the pipeline's rights to protest.

"I enjoy it. I mean this is Democracy, this is what America is all about." said McAuliffe. "You've got 10-15 folks protesting, but remember I'm governor of 8.5 million people."

After his visit to the Clinton campaign office, McAuliffe headed back to Richmond, but protesters say their fight is far from over.

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