Action report from Virginia about lockdown against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA — Friday morning, February 1, 2019, a pipeline fighter stopped work at a Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) worksite near Chatham, VA. The individual locked themself to a horizontal drill that is being used for ongoing construction of the pipeline. A banner at the protest site read “NO MVP,” and multiple supporters gathered on site with a banner that read “WATER IS LIFE – WE WON’T BACK DOWN.”
“We do this for all life on earth, for the ones not yet brave enough to take a stand against the injustices of this world,” stated the anonymous pipeline fighter who took action today. “We do this for each other, for every living being on this planet, because we all need clean water and clean air to live.” The pipeline fighter was extracted from their position just after 12 pm on Friday. They were arrested and charged with trespassing.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline’s proposed route runs for 300-plus-miles through West Virginia and Virginia, ending in Pittsylvania County, VA, where today’s action took place. The 42-inch-diameter fracked gas pipeline crosses hundreds of water bodies, threatening ecosystems, communities, water, and residents along its route. Impacted residents and community members have staunchly opposed the MVP for the past five years, and have resisted the project through the courts, by appealing to legislators, and through a sustained nonviolent direct action campaign that has resulted in numerous work stoppages and delays. As a result of this sustained resistance, MVP’s initial projected in service date of late 2018 has been replaced by a projected in service date of early 2020, with some sources reporting that the pipeline may never be completed.
Today’s work stoppage coincides with the 150th consecutive day of two aerial blockades referred to as the “Yellow Finch tree sits.” These blockades outside of Elliston, VA have been preventing tree clearing and protecting some of the last remaining trees in the pipeline’s path for 150 days and counting. MVP has filed a request for injunction against these tree sitters and their supporters; a federal judge has yet to issue a decision for the case.
Blacksburg resident Betty Hahn expressed support for today’s action against the Mountain Valley Pipeline: “For 150 days, two tree sitters have been braving extreme weather and danger to create a blockade against the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and today a brave individual joined their ranks by locking to construction equipment at a worksite. Numerous permits for this pipeline have been vacated, VA Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a lawsuit against MVP, myriad citizens have been fighting for 5 years to try to stop this dangerous and unnecessary monstrosity, and still no stop work order has been issued. In the face of extreme climate change and possible extinction, we cannot wait for action. We must find ways to stop the work ourselves.”