As resistance in Appalachia heats up to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, land defenders and community members are reaching out for support in the face of increasing repression.
This week, MVP construction approached the Yellow Finch tree sit blockade and was met with fierce resistance. MVP has managed to clear the felled trees on the easement from the north, but we aim to disrupt all stages of construction across the road from our camp where we have been living for 320 days. Please come down here if you can, for an hour or for a month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
Below is a timeline of the past week’s events at and near the Yellow Finch tree sits.
Saturday, July 13th, 2019: One defender locked down in a sleeping dragon, blockading the passage of a creek-crossing and of further brush clearing on the easement for 7 hours. This was approximately one mile away from the Yellow Finch blockade.
Sunday July 14th: MVP did not work.
Monday July 15th: Defenders walked onto the worksite at Flatwoods Rd and disrupted the pipeline construction activity. One defender was wrongfully arrested with an assault charge for allegedly pointing his cane in the general direction of a security guard whose self esteem just couldn’t handle it.
Tuesday July 16th: A group of defenders assembled near Dawson, WV on a remote mountain to monitor pipeline activity that is despoiling a local organic farm. In the process of their ravaging, MVP flipped an excavator that expelled all its fluids on the formerly fertile soil and stopped work.
Thursday July 18th: One defender locked down in the easement for 5 hours, preventing MVP from clearing brush past the top of a ridge directly opposite the Yellow Finch Blockade.
Friday July 19th: The dozers came over the ridge with a vengeance. Defenders ran onto the worksite with banners, work was stopped and police were called. After some hours, work resumed on the hillside opposite the tree sits (above where defenders, police, and security were standing). An excavator operator then dislodged a massive rootball and stump on the hill that then proceeded to “get away” from him. The rootball rolled down the hill, picking up speed and flattening trees on its way down before crashing into our support camp, outside of MVP’s limit of disturbance. Our defenders narrowly escaped being crushed, and personal items are stuck under the rootball still.
Less than five minutes after the stump was thrown our way, MVP again demonstrated their incompetence and flipped yet another excavator in direct view of the tree sits. We suggested to the assembled police that MVP should STOP WORK at this point but they did not.
Saturday July 20th: Workers returned to the site across the valley from the tree sits. Police were called to both Yellow Finch Rd and adjoining Cove Hollow Rd. 40 concerned citizens stormed the worksite at Cove Hollow while more defenders came from Yellow Finch. Police and MVP security then entered the Yellow Finch blockade en masse. No reasons or warnings were given for the police action. Eventually, the police claimed trespassing on the easement was the reason but there was no work happening in or around the Yellow Finch blockade (therefore no one was interfering with MVP work and therefore all of our defenders were perfectly within the law to be occupying the space). The police then began violently snatching people, seemingly at random — one standing on the road and two within the camp that is outside the easement. They destroyed our guard shack and seized a few hammocks and tarps and other personal items. All three arrested remain in jail as of this writing.
Sunday July 21st: MVP did not work.
The hill across from us is being destroyed, but they still have to trench, weld, lower, and bury the pipe. We still have two tree sits up in the remaining strip of standing forest. The police have shown that they intend to enforce the corporate will of MVP without any regard for public safety, people’s rights, or their very own “rule of law.” We need support now to continue this resistance. Please join us as soon as you are able at the end of Yellow Finch Rd in Elliston, VA. If you can’t make it out, tell your friends, and consider donating so we can afford to bail our defenders out (bit.ly/supportmvpresistance).