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May 6, 19

Pipeline Fighter Arrested After Barricading Themself Inside Mountain Valley Pipeline

Another pipeline fighter has been arrested in West Virginia for barricading themself inside a pipe which is part of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Appalachians Against Pipelines reports on this action and how the person has been charged with “threats of terrorist acts,” the second protester to face such outrageous charges.

Summers County, WV — Early this morning, an anonymous pipeline fighter barricaded themself inside a section of the Mountain Valley Pipeline at a work site near Pence Springs, WV. The section of pipe in question is located next to the easement ditch, ready for welding to be completed before being buried. Banners located on the pipe read “STOP WORK: PERSON IN PIPE” and “MVP: THE TRUE TERRORIST” in reference to the “threats of terrorist acts” felony charge brought against a peaceful MVP protester less than two weeks ago (and retrospectively, in reference to the protester’s own charges today). Over a dozen people gathered adjacent to the site to show their support.

The person in the pipe was extracted and arrested before 10 AM, after over 3 hours in the pipe. They were charged with 2 misdemeanors (obstruction, trespassing) and 2 felonies (“threats of terrorist acts,” property destruction), and bail was set at $8,500; they have since been bailed out of jail. A supporter who was on site was detained, driven off site by police, and released without charges.

The person in the pipe stated:

“I’ve entered this pipe in an attempt to slow the devastation that the Mountain Valley Pipeline (and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) will cause to the ecosystem I grew to love while camping here as a child, and that I now call my home. While the fossil fuel industry and the state wish to portray us as a threat to the public, the only threat we pose is to the profits generated by these pointless projects. Still, perhaps these obstructive acts do terrify those with an interest in maintaining the status-quo. Perhaps they are reminded of the contradiction of infinite growth on a finite planet. Perhaps they realize that a world without domination and profit is possible, and tremble at the prospect. 

“However, the terrorism I see is hidden in plain sight. Is a pipeline carrying explosives through your front yard not terrorism? What about the ongoing eradication of non-human species? Or the creation of a planet that is uninhabitable? What about the police occupations of poor, black, and brown neighborhoods, and the military occupations around the world? The millions of humans who are locked in cages? The need to sell our labor to survive? The surveillance and commodification of everyday life? Those with limited imagination say this subtler terrorism keeps us safe. Yet, at best, it leaves us isolated, anxious, and depressed. At worst, it leaves us dead. Chances are, you already know someone confronting these crises head on. The question is, will you join us? Everything you need is already present, and the fire of resistance has already been lit. So make your plans, scheme your schemes, and I’ll see you on the other side of the pipe.”

Neal Laferriere of Blackberry Springs Farm and Blackberry Botanicals, an affected land and small business owner from Summers County, WV, stated the following in support of today’s direct action:

“We have discovered the hard way that the agencies and organizations put in place to protect us spend most of their resources ensuring that the projects that are polluting our waters, our air, and ruining our farms, can be completed. This leave us with only one option: to stand up for our families, our neighbors, and our communities via peaceful protests and direct actions. This is the only option we have left. We have to stand up, or we just get run over.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 303-mile, 42-inch diameter fracked gas pipeline that runs from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia, with a 70-mile extension into North Carolina announced in 2018. The pipeline endangers water, ecosystems, and communities along its route, contributes to climate change, increases demand for natural gas (and therefore fracking), and is entrenched in corrupt political processes. Resistance to the pipeline has existed since it was proposed nearly 5 years ago, including a robust nonviolent direct action campaign that began in 2018.

The site where today’s action took place is less than a mile from where the MVP is slated to cross the Greenbrier River. On April 24th, 2019, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) modified the state’s water quality certification standards to allow MVP to construct the pipeline across water bodies using a method that had previously been deemed illegal. Changes to these state-imposed conditions include removing a 72-hour time limit for construction of pipelines across major waterways (including the Greenbrier).

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Defending Appalachia from the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and more. No new pipelines in Appalachia!

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