Eliston, VA: MVP Fighter Locks Her Body In Pipeline Easement

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Appalachians Against Pipelines reports on continued resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), now seriously delayed in construction due to grassroots opposition.

Montgomery County, VA — Just before noon Friday, a pipeline protester called Violet locked herself in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, VA. This action took place adjacent to the Yellow Finch tree sit blockade, which is in its 317th day of protecting some of the last remaining trees on the pipeline’s route. The site of Violet’s action is also just over the ridge from where pipeline fighter Phillip Flagg was arrested on Saturday, July 13, in a similar action. Violet blocked the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement for 5 hours before being extracted from her blockade and arrested. She was charged with 2 obstruction misdemeanors and released on $2,500 bail.

Violet stated: “Without a doubt, the Mountain Valley Pipeline needs to be stopped. It will destroy a precious environment that provides vivid life to the countless plants, animals, and communities that call this region home. The most shameful things have been done to this land and to the people who have lived here. It is destruction in the name of exploitation and profit. We’ve already lost so much life on our planet, and what is left cannot sustain this any longer. I’ve continued to find hope among the communities of resistance in this region. Mirroring the dynamic natural relationships that make these forests and mountains so beautiful, courageous people of Appalachia and beyond have shown resilience that is capable of combatting the pipeline’s threat. By struggling together, we have created ways of loving and of fighting everything that projects such as the MVP stand for. This is no time for neutrality. Our tree sits are still up, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline has fallen behind schedule. It will continue to do so.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, 300-plus mile, fracked gas pipeline that runs from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. In June 2019, a 70-mile extension into North Carolina (which was proposed in 2018) was denied its Section 401 Water Quality Certification by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The Mountain Valley Pipeline endangers water, ecosystems, and communities along its route, contributes to climate change, increases demand for natural gas (and as a result, fracking), and is entrenched in corrupt political processes.

Resistance to the pipeline has only grown since the pipeline’s proposal in 2014. Grassroots-led pipeline monitoring and a nonviolent direct action campaign are ongoing — Violet is the 7th person in 2019 to be arrested after locking her body in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. In June 2019, builders admitted that the project’s budget has ballooned to $5 billion and that the completion date has been delayed by 1.5 years at least.

The pipeline is in a state of uncertainty. MVP currently lacks permission to cross many water bodies on the route and has been forced to explore alternate approaches in crossing through the Jefferson National Forest. The coming months will show whether construction is able to move forward in those areas, and whether investors will continue to believe in the pipeline’s ever-distant goal of completion.


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