West Virginia: Blockade Launched Against Pipeline Access Road

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Pipeline resistors in West Virginia have set up a new monopod to stop further construction work on the pipeline. Support in the local area is growing, as people around the pipeline have refused to sell their land and are funneling supplies to the tree-sit and growing blockade. The following press release comes from Appalachians Against Pipelines, which we reprint below.  

Giles County, VA – Earlier this morning, anti-pipeline activists erected an aerial blockade across an access road in the Jefferson National Forest. The blockade prevents state vehicles and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) personnel from accessing the two tree sits on Peters Mountain, and halts the daily construction of a 7-mile road leading to the site of the company’s planned boring through Peters Mountain. One pipeline fighter sits atop a lone 50-foot log attached to nearby trees with a banner that reads, “The Fire is Catching, NO PIPELINES.”

In a statement they wrote:

“Exploitation and extraction have gone on far too long. The actions of companies like Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) LLC threaten land and lives in pursuit of power and profit. Their continued destruction endangers ecosystems and human communities—from those poisoned by fracking, to those trapped amid increasing storms.

We struggle against this pipeline on stolen land. No appeals to so-called authorities, who uphold the state and capitalist systems attacking Appalachia and the planet, can stop this destruction. MVP has its permits and the police forces “protecting” these so-called public lands defend the pipeline construction.

I didn’t climb this monopod under the illusion that my actions alone would stop this pipeline. I climbed it because I believe that if many more people find ways to confront this destruction and disrupt MVP’s unjust operations, we can make those operations impossible.

As I remember the local support the tree sits have received, and all the people already standing up against the destruction of their land and water along the MVP and ACP routes, I know we can be a strong force for a world without these pipelines. The flames of resistance are catching and they will spread.”

Law enforcement at blockade on MVP road in national forest

EDIT: Cops have now left the scene. It is still worth calling law enforcement to emphasize the need for SAFETY around the monopod, but there is no immediate danger. // ORIGINAL POST: LAW ENFORCEMENT AT THE BLOCKADE HAS BEEN ENDANGERING THE SITTER — they have been SHAKING the monopod, which could cause the protester to FALL 50 FEET. PLEASE CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TELL THEM: NO SHAKING, NO TOUCHING ANYTHING, OR YOU ARE ENDANGERING THE LIFE OF THE PROTESTER — Wytheville State Police Office: 800-542-8716PLEASE ASK STATE POLICE AND FOREST SERVICE FOR A SAFE & WELL-RESEARCHED EXTRACTION. PLEASE SHARE!More law enforcement to call:Dublin State Police Office: 540-643-2560US Forest Service: 540-265-5100

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A rally of supporters has already gathered at the blockade. The tree sits, which have now been occupied for 30 days, are currently preventing MVP’s tree clearing operation near the pipeline’s planned crossing of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Mountain Valley has only three more days to fell trees before a federally mandated March 31st deadline to protect endangered species imposes a long delay. The pipeline fighter in today’s action hopes to inspire others to take action to prevent construction of the pipeline.

They said in a statement:

“Exploitation and extraction have gone on far too long. The actions of companies like Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) LLC threaten land and lives in pursuit of power and profit. Their continued destruction endangers ecosystems and human communities—from those poisoned by fracking, to those trapped amid increasing storms.

We struggle against this pipeline on stolen land. No appeals to so-called authorities, who uphold the state and capitalist systems attacking Appalachia and the planet, can stop this destruction. MVP has its permits and the police forces “protecting” these so-called public lands defend the pipeline construction.

I didn’t climb this monopod under the illusion that my actions alone would stop this pipeline. I climbed it because I believe that if many more people find ways to confront this destruction and disrupt MVP’s unjust operations, we can make those operations impossible.

As I remember the local support the tree sits have received, and all the people already standing up against the destruction of their land and water along the MVP and ACP routes, I know we can be a strong force for a world without these pipelines. The flames of resistance are catching and they will spread.”

The ongoing tree sits have enjoyed strong support from local residents in both Virginia and West Virginia, many of whom have opposed MVP’s plans to build a 300 mile, 42-inch high pressure natural gas pipeline through their communities. In Monroe County, West Virginia, almost half of landowners refused to sell easements to MVP and had their land taken by eminent domain. Local supporters have made regularly deliveries of food and thank-you notes to the tree sitters. Last Thursday, 20 concerned citizens spontaneously gathered near the site of today’s action when word spread that the Forest Service might attempt to remove the sitters.

“Ordinary citizens, who for decades have sounded the alarm on threats to water, health, and individual rights from resource extraction, might finally be heard as a result of [these actions]. By showing up to bear witness to the power of direct action non-violence in the face of chainsaws, the people might bring an end to fossil fuel sacrifice zones in Appalachia and around the globe,” said Russell Chisholm of Newport, VA who has helped rally community support for the tree sitters.

This new blockade follows the expiration of the Temporary Restraining Order against alleged tree sitters and Judge Irons of West Virginia’s March 22 decision denying MVP’s request for an injunction. However, the Forest Service’s order closing the access road and a 400 foot corridor along the pipeline’s 3.5 mile route through the National Forest remains in place.

Get Updates from Appalachians Against Pipelines:

WE’RE STILL HERE! The aerial blockade erected early this AM on a Mountain Valley Pipeline access road in the Jefferson National Forest is holding strong! The tree sits up on Peters Mountain, now in their 30th day, are also holding strong.

The folks rallying at the gate on Pocahontas Rd are requesting REINFORCEMENTS and FOOD. Lunch rally at the gate! Directions here.

Local supporters, please join us at the gate and spread the word to your friends and neighbors — NOW is the time to show your support.

And if you can’t make it out today, please donate: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

#StoptheMVP #KeepItInTheGround

 


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