Against the will of residents, survey crews are again attempting to access properties in the Bent Mountain area of Virginia after a judge issued an injunction against property owners blocking surveying for the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
Circuit Court Judge David Carson ruled on May 26 that barring surveyors from their work would do “irreparable harm” to the Pittsburgh based multimillion dollar corporation EQT Midstream. According to the Roanoke Times, Coles Terry, one of the landowners fighting the surveyors responded to the ruling with, “It went exactly like I thought it would. It’s the big guy against the little guy. It’s a billion-dollar project. They don’t care about us. It’s all about money.”
The surveyors, from Holland Engineering based out of Holland, MI, wasted little time in getting back to work. Or at least they tried to. On May 31, survey crews accompanied by private security guards returned to the Bent Mountain community only to be confronted once again by angry residents. Holding a banner reading, “We Cherish. We Will Defend Water & Land,” community members successfully prevented the survey team from getting onto the property. After a standoff at that property the survey crew moved further down the road and set up equipment briefly before being informed by locals that they were trespassing on another piece of land they did not have legal permission to be on. Shortly thereafter the survey team packed up for the day without having conducted any work. Police were also on the scene and reportedly took the ID’s of those present.
The MVP would bring fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia where it would tie into an existing network of pipelines along the East Coast. It is believed that much of the gas is destined for export. In addition to destroying people’s private farms and woodlands, the MVP will also travel through several miles of the Jefferson National Forest, cutting a 300 foot wide swath directly adjacent to two federally designated wilderness areas.
As the resistance to surveying continues to heat up, MVP opponents are calling on people to go after the funders of the pipeline. The group Protect our Water, Heritage and Rights (POWHR) is calling for a week of action to defund the MVP June 19-23. You can find the full list of MVP funders at the POWHR website.