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April 30

A Tree-Sitter Named “Nutty” has Stopped Pipeline Construction for Over a Month

Jackson Phillips, friend of Appalachians Against Pipelines, offers this latest dispatch on ongoing action in Appalachia against pipelines.

Seven people have taken to trees in Virginia and West Virginia, and they won’t come down until the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is stopped. The numbers at the four resistance sites stand at: 62 days on Peters Mountain. 33 days in the monopod. 28 days on Bent Mountain. 11 days at Little Teel Crossing.

On Friday, reporters climbed up Pocahontas Rd in so-called Narrows, VA to talk to Nutty the tree-sitter and her supporters.

An emergency road closure order prohibits people from being within 125 feet of the road, meaning anyone wishing to see the monopod must bushwhack through the Appalachian Forest. Multiple gullies, creeks, and steep grades are the norm along the “trail” which is comprised of some trail markers on in the forest.

Despite the hazards of the road closure (which was put in place “to provide a safe environment for visitors”), supporters have forged through the forest, to donate food and document the actions of law enforcement.

At the end of the road at the forest service gate, Nutty’s monopod resistance remains intact into its 32nd day, which sets a record for the longest continuously-occupied monopod. She has a growing group of supporters at a camp right next to the 125-foot police tape line.

Due to the distance enforced by the police line, reporters had to yell to Nutty to ask her how she was doing. She rolled up her tent window and yelled back.

“I’m doing well. Forest service has set up an enormous camp underneath me. There are seven people currently in the air, which is awesome. I hope it keeps catching and different kinds of actions keep catching on. MVP thinks that if they just wait, people will come down. They are wrong,” Nutty said.

According to sources on Pocahontas Road, the usual law enforcement crew has reached some overtime limits, and they have had to call in backup from other states. There are two crews, and they trade off shifts twice a day at 7 am and 7 pm.

The police have been shining spotlights and trucklights on Nutty’s fifty-foot high monopod tent from sunset to sunrise for over three weeks, and yet she persists. Nutty was asked why she was still here, through the extreme weather conditions and antagonistic treatment from law enforcement.

“I want the pipeline not to be built. It may seem impossible, but we need to keep fighting until we don’t have to live in a world where it feels like that anymore. It may not seem worth it, but we have to try and break the structure of domination,” Nutty said

Local police carried semi-automatic weapons into the nearby support camp last Monday and dragged a supporter by the neck when an attempt was made to provide Nutty with some food and socks. Three arrests were made and one citation, all misdemeanors.

“The cops were putting up a police line further down the hill, and people thought they could get over here. They were trying to get me food and clean socks. Cops dragged some friends through the dirt. One had an EMT called, but is now fine. Everyone is out now,” Nutty told us.

When asked about her goals beyond the monopod, Nutty said she is committed to doing whatever it takes to stop this and other pipelines.

“I know this isn’t going to last forever; I’m rationing food. When I get out, I want to continue to make [stopping this pipeline] an attainable goal,” Nutty said.

Finally, Nutty was asked if she had any predictions for how this resistance will continue to play out.

“I’m not sure. I hope more surprising direct action stuff happens. The sad thing is they’ll keep building the pipeline in other places. I hope everyone keeps fighting back. I think the police will put more popup tents under me,” Nutty said.

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