Filed under: Action, Development, Environment, Repression, Southeast
Appalachians Against Pipelines presents two statements from Tom and Molly on their recent fight against felony charges and the ongoing struggle against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
In April, Tom and Molly were arrested after Tom stopped pipe from being delivered to a Mountain Valley Pipeline work site by locking himself to a pipe truck for several hours. They were each charged with multiple felonies and jailed without bond before being ultimately granted an outrageous bail of $15,000 each.
After having scary, bullshit charges, including felony abduction 😡😡😡, hanging over their heads for months, they each accepted a plea offer that included being found guilty of a single misdemeanor. Here are some reflections from Molly:
“Today I am thinking about how lucky I am to be in the position I am in. I am thinking about all the people currently awaiting trial that did not have a community-wide support system able to afford bail. I am thinking about all the people currently incarcerated, victims of a system that upholds racial violence and the criminalization of poverty. I am thinking about all the people that never had the chance to prove their innocence as the police they encountered chose to name themselves judge, jury, and executioner.
“The judge’s statements in court today revolved entirely around our effects on MVP’s profits, on our effects on the sale of natural gas – I appreciate this honesty and clarity. Our outcome today was not based on determining harm to communities, the land, the people around us. It was directly in line with what all colonial structures, and specifically our legal system, uphold — the worship of monetary gain, no matter the cost.
“I am grateful for the support I have received. I know in my heart that white colonists, and in this case specifically, white Appalachians, will never know true peace until this land is returned to its rightful stewards.”
As Molly pointed out, today the Judge in Giles County made it abundantly clear that the courts and the state are in place to protect to profits of fossil fuel companies. He suggested that this pipeline MUST be completed because there is a market for natural gas, yet we have known for years that this is not true- that this pipeline will actually create demand for natural gas and force us further into climate chaos.
This afternoon, the same day Tom and Molly stood before a Virginia judge to receive punishment for defending the land and water from pipeline destruction, the Virginia State Water Control Board voted to approve MVP’s water crossing permit. This decision will endanger hundreds of streams and waterways that are home to countless critters and plants.
Time and time again, MVP has proved incompetent at building a pipeline through these steep slopes- causing mudslides, tipping excavators, digging up pipe and redoing their shoddy work. How can MVP be trusted to drill under the delicate ecosystems nestled in streams and rivers? How can we trust our state institutions to protect these mountains and the water when we know they are profit driven?
In April, Tom and Molly took a stand to stop the MVP while the courts and regulators failed to do so. They faced some of the most absurd charges against pipeline fighters in this campaign to date. Still, as Molly said, there are thousands of other people locked in cages, stuck in the so-called “criminal justice” system with no community support. Let’s work to support everyone inside prisons and jails with the same urgency as those who have put themselves in the path of the pipelines. As we continue to fight this pipeline, we are also fighting to end this system and #FreeThemAll!