West Virginia: “STOP MTR” Banner Deployed on Mining Site

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines and RAMPS Campaign

This week, folks with Appalachians Against Pipelines and Ramps Campaign deployed a STOP MTR banner adjacent to an active mountaintop removal coal mine. This drone footage shows the destruction of a mountain in Boone County, WV.

See drone footage here.

Trish McLawhorn, who was on site at the action, is a citizen monitor for Mountain Valley Watch, Preserve Bent Mountain, and POWHR Coalition (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights). “I am someone who strives to further educate and inform communities about, while actively opposing, environmentally destructive projects such as the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines,” Trish explained. “Those projects are currently causing irreparable harm and devastation to endangered species, as well as the desecration of stolen lands across territories now referred to as West Virginia and Virginia.

“As such, it was especially heartbreaking to visit, learn about, and bear witness to first hand mountaintop removal operations currently underway and happening for years in Appalachia. These forced alterations of the land to the detriment of the wild, precipitation cycles, and those who inhabit the valley below, are astounding and should never be exacted upon these beloved mountains. The implications of such mining processes are profound, forever altering the flow of water and vital functions of the ecological systems in place.

“The disruption of the natural world in this manner, as well as all other violent methods of fracturing our foundations, only strengthen my resolve and should compel every one of us, ever more deeply, to defend all that we love in Appalachia and beyond.

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines

“Whether we are residing in communities fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, or mountaintop removal coal mining, many are finding ways to continue to reach out, support one another, educate ourselves, and inform those around us about how these struggles are all connected. I encourage folks to become involved, both locally and in areas outside of impacted blast and incineration zones. We must continue our work to defend, support, and protect life, especially those most vulnerable, regardless of whether we are directly or indirectly impacted.

“These are the places we have called home for generations. Threats to our collective survival are truly what we are up against … this is what we have ALWAYS been up against! We must continue fighting to protect these spaces for generations to come, and we must honor our ancestors with action. We must never back down!”

Clyde Bowe, a lifelong resident of the Coal River Valley, remembers hunting and root digging on White Oak for decades before it was stripped: “They shouldn’t be stripping that mountain like that. That’s bullshit. I’ve lived here my whole friggin’ life. You can’t go up there and root dig anymore, or see live trees, ‘cause they’ve stripped it. They should’ve left it the hell alone, the way I see it.

“They’ve gotten rid of all the game and killed everything off — that used to be good hunting up there. They should leave what’s there the hell alone, and shouldn’t continue. We should make them stop, is the way I see it.”

A note on scale — the banner shown in the beginning of this video looks tiny compared to the massive machines on the mine site. But in reality, the total length of the banner is over 80 feet and is being held by 14 people. The extent of the devastation on the mountain is difficult to comprehend.

 

Elliston, VA: Pipeline Fighter Locks Onto Mountain Valley Pipeline Helicopter!

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines.

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

Yesterday, a pipeline fighter has locked themselves to a Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) helicopter near Elliston, VA. The banner on the helicopter reads “DOOM TO THE PIPELINE.”

The pipeline fighter taking action, going by Squirrel, stated: “I took action today in an attempt to slow the construction of this destructive pipeline project. If completed, the MVP will ship billions of cubic feet of natural gas to be burned every single day. This pipeline will inevitably leak, and many natural gas pipelines have exploded, killing people and wildlife.

“In times such as these, with the catastrophic effects of global warming accelerating at an alarming pace, it is imperative to act now. The planet is in crisis, and the ruling class would rather continue the genocidal and ecologically destructive projects of capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism, than address the largest existential threat in human history. It’s up to us to intervene — they won’t stop unless we make them stop. For a world and a future without exploitation, capitalism, and the destruction of the wild! No compromise!”

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines

MVP uses helicopters for a few purposes, including surveillance and large scale hydroseeding. Hydroseeding is a process in which they drop proprietary pellets on the pipeline easement (and everywhere else they happen to hit within a mile or so) as part of their bogus, destructive attempt at “environmental remediation.” In 2018, MVP dropped “erosion control” pellets on Neal Laferriere’s organic farm Blackberry Botanicals in Summers County, WV, a quarter mile from the easement, hitting Neal’s children in the face and causing the family to lose their organic certification and livelihood. Hydroseeding has been proven worldwide to be incredibly damaging to native plant communities and long term ecosystem stability.

The action took place just down the road from the Yellow Finch tree sits, which have been preventing construction and defending some of the last remaining trees on the pipeline route for 398 days and counting!

DONATE to support Squirrel and the tree sits: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

 

Three water protectors SHUT DOWN work at a Mountain Valley Pipeline site in West Virginia!

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

BREAKING!! Three water protectors have SHUT DOWN work at a Mountain Valley Pipeline site in Greenbrier County!

Two Indigenous women and one other water protector have locked down to 3 separate excavators. Banners at the site read, “VIOLENCE AGAINST MOTHER EARTH IS VIOLENCE AGAINST OUR SISTERS” and “AIN’T SCARED. STILL FIGHTIN.”

Cherri Foytlin, afro-Indigenous mother of 6 with Extinction Rebellion, explains: “A little under a year ago, while I was fighting to keep the Bayou Bridge Pipeline from crossing our land, I was attacked by someone who thought their threats and acts of violence would quiet my sensible demand for clean water for generations yet to come. I am here today to say: I will not fear cowardly men when it comes to protecting Unci Maka (our Grandmother Earth). As our planet boils, our children are caged, and our women are disappeared, we must accept that violence against the Earth is the same as violence used against our women and children. Therefore, in the name of all that is good, we have a moral obligation to halt the harm. This is why we cannot, and will not, stand down. Stop MVP!

Mama Julz, Ogala Lakota, land defender, water protector, and founder of Mothers Against Meth Alliance, stated: “Today I’m here to bring awareness to the issues of man camps and their connection with the drugs and sex trafficking that leads to missing and murdered Indigenous women. These issues are really important to me because I fight meth, not only in my territory but in a lot of Indigenous territories across Turtle Island. Any time you desecrate Mother Earth, raping Mother Earth, it’s raping our sisters, too. It’s all one big connection, and that’s why we have this rise in our missing and murdered Indigenous relatives.

“Man camps,” as Mama Julz is referring to, are housing complexes that provide accommodations for hundreds (often thousands) of temporary workers, commonly associated with the fossil fuel industry. They’re frequently seen in remote locations along pipeline construction routes and near oil and gas fields. In any small or rural community, a massive influx of transient men is a recipe for disaster. Man camps have a devastating impact on Indigenous communities in particular, where they contribute to a surge of substance abuse, sexual assault and other violent crimes, leading to a rise in the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women — a continuation of the lethal violence and abuse that European colonizers have imposed on Native women for hundreds of years.

DONATE to help cover legal costs and support ongoing resistance: bit.ly/SupportMVPResistance

 

Virginia: Mountain Valley Pipeline Fighters Disrupt Construction

Photo via Appalachians Against Pipelines.

Yesterday, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to construction equipment at a Mountain Valley Pipeline work site in Franklin County, VA, preventing work at the site. The banners read, “EARTH IS ON FIRE, TURN OFF THE GAS” and “¡SOLIDARIDAD CON PUERTO RICO!”

When asked why he’s taking action, Cricket, one of the people locked to equipment today, said, “Lots of things bring us here, I think. Speaking for myself, I’m currently going to school for integrated science education, which means my long term life plan is to become a science teacher. Hopefully my blossoming legal record after this doesn’t mess that up for me, but those goals stem from wanting to empower and support the wellbeing of future generations. Those commitments that call me to education are the same commitments that being me here, trying to protect the earth from another pipeline that will contribute to the mass extinction we’re going through right now.

“Unless we can stop climate chaos, the students I teach won’t have a planet to learn about, or potable water to drink, or even clean air to breathe, for that matter. So no matter what happens after this, I know I’m doing something that I will be proud to explain for the rest of my life. Clove and I are expressing care for the future.”

Clove, the other person locked on site, stated the following in reference to the “¡SOLIDARIDAD CON PUERTO RICO!” banner: “One indicator of climate destabilization is the increasing severity of hurricanes. In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico as well as other surrounding places. After the hurricane, most of the disaster relief came from the people first impacted. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone — the first responders are always those first impacted — and it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that the government turned their noses up at the people struggling to keep themselves and their communities alive in the wake of that disaster.

“Since that hurricane, we’ve seen communities take care of each other in ways the government won’t, and now more than ever we’re seeing people take that power and use it to reject that government all together. We want to show love and support to the folks in Puerto Rico that are fighting for autonomy in their lives after a disaster, on a planet that’s only going to have more disasters in the near future.”

Clove and Cricket prevented Mountain Valley Pipeline work at the Franklin County site for 6.5 hours! They were then extracted from their blockade and arrested. One friend was charged with 2 misdemeanors and released on $1,500 bail. The other was arraigned but is being held without bail.

Meanwhile, today is day 345 at the Yellow Finch tree sit blockade near Elliston, VA!

Donate to support Cricket, Clove, Yellow Finch, and ongoing resistance to the MVP: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance