“We Have Stopped it for Another Year”: Mountain Valley Pipeline Tree-Sit Now Over 156 Days

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines:

The following is a statement from one of the current tree-sitters in Virginia in the Appalachian region, who is part of an ongoing blockade which is fighting the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The current tree-sit is now celebrated over 5 months of direct resistance.

“Today marks 156 days since the beginning of the Yellow Finch tree sits, and a lot has changed since then.

The forest around us has undergone seasonal changes, the trees have shed their leaves, and animals have become dormant for the winter months. The tree sits have endured a hurricane, snowstorms, high winds, and below freezing temperatures.

But thanks to the tree sits, this hillside has been able to experience another winter, and another chance at rebirth come springtime. Thanks to the tree sits, there is currently one less forest degraded and destroyed for profit, one less forest ecosystem suffering from fragmented habitat and biodiversity loss. Thanks to the tree sits, there is still a thriving, functioning forest on the hillside above Yellow Finch Lane in Elliston, Va.

Mountain Valley Pipeline wants to cut through one of the last untouched forests in the eastern U.S., blasting through mountains, drilling under rivers, cutting across wetlands, and creating a vast, dark chasm through one of the world’s most beautiful places.

But through all of the combined efforts of direct actions and opposition to MVP, there is currently one less functioning pipeline in the world, one less profitable venture for fossil fuel companies.

This is what it takes. This is how we create a better world. Look at how far we have come in this struggle. We’ve stopped this pipeline for over a year!

To all of the young people who feel hopeless and scared and angry at the world they’re inheriting, I want you to see what we’ve accomplished. Small, dedicated groups of people have managed to do the impossible. This pipeline may not be dead yet, but we have stopped it for another year, and that’s something to celebrate.

In the face of potential impending extraction at the Yellow Finch tree sits, I urge you all to focus on all that we have accomplished so far. I am optimistic that one day we will see a future in which enough people say, ‘no more.’ No more pipelines, no more injustices. We are taking back our power.

As I sat in the courtroom behind Nutty two weeks ago and listened to the Forest Service lie under oath and try to minimize the role they played in aiding MVP last spring, a lot of memories came rushing back to me. I was reminded of the realization I had that there is no state agency left untouched by capitalism — even the agency tasked with protecting public lands is not on our side. Capitalism seeks to drain every last resource left on earth. As long as there is a profit to be made from our natural resources, there will be people willing to exploit them.

Let’s be reminded at this time of how much we owe to those who were willing to take the courageous first steps of nonviolent direct action almost a year ago. Nutty and the Peters Mountain tree sitter’s actions sparked more direct action against the pipeline – which in turn sparked even more.

Let’s continue to grow and learn and support one another in this struggle; let’s figure out what works by just trying things until we figure out what does. Most importantly, let’s share what we’ve learned with other people. The knowledge we share might be the most powerful tool we ever give, or could ever give, to other people. You never know what someone will do with it.

Much love and solidarity,
-Lauren”

Donate to support the tree sits & other resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Virginia: Pipeline Fighter Locks Down to Mountain Valley Pipeline Worksite

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

Yesterday, a pipeline fighter locked themself to a horizontal drill at a Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite in Pittsylvania County, VA. This site is at the tail end of the 300-plus-mile pipeline route. Work was STOPPED and has been for over an hour.

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 this morning. “We do this for each other, for every living being on this planet, because we all need clean water and clean air to live.

Eventually, this  brave pipeline fighter was extracted from their spot, arrested, charged with trespassing, and released!

The action coincided with DAY 150 of the Yellow Finch tree sits outside of Elliston, VA. Two aerial blockades have been preventing tree clearing and protecting some of the last standing trees in the pipeline’s path for 150 days! We are currently awaiting a ruling by a federal judge regarding MVP’s request for an injunction against these tree sitters and their supporters.

DONATE to support resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline! bit.ly/supportmvpresistance — or donate enough to get yourself a handmade t-shirt from our fundraiser (limited supplies remaining) bit.ly/shirtrequestAAP

Stand with Poisoned Inmates

Graphic by Adam Peck via Think Progress.

This is climate injustice.

In January, thousands of gallons of the toxic coal cleaning chemicals contaminated the drinking supply for 300,000 people and hundreds of inmates at the South Central Regional Jail (SCRJ) in Charleston, WV, were deprived of access to enough safe water.

Many inmates suffered from illness and injury from dehydration or chemical exposure. Some even faced violence and legal repercussions for seeking medical help and for asking for clean water to drink. You can hold SCRJ accountable and ensure the basic human rights for inmates if you speak out right now!

Click here to demand basic human rights and safe water access for inmates at West Virginia’s South Central Regional Jail.

Our allies with West Virginia Water Hub and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS) met and corresponded with more than 50 inmates, and based on their stories, it’s clear that this failed crisis response is just the latest example in a larger pattern of abuse, violence, and negligence by the jail’s staff and administration.

WV Water Hub and RAMPS are amplifying the voices of inmates and exposing this horrendous abuse in order to force a response from prison authorities.

Add your voice: sign RAMPS’ petition to demand basic human rights for inmates in coal country.

RAMPS has stated that they are acting “in solidarity with broader movements of resistance to the growing prison state and poisonous extractive industries.” Combined, the systems of state repression and fossil fuel industry profit are creating a perpetual crisis. Like RAMPS, our movements must respond in kind and directly confront fossil fuel expansion, challenge the political power of that system, and act in solidarity with those facing the brunt of the crisis.

That is climate justice.

No Business as Usual at Alpha Headquarters

flagReposted from the RAMPS Campaign

June 20, 2014 — Bristol, VA. Three activists with Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People’s Survival (RAMPS) are currently stopping business as usual at Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, VA, in protest of Alpha’s devastating practices of mountaintop removal coal mining. Activists were protesting the opening of new mines on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. Two protestors are locked in front of the front doors of the office, while a third is hanging from a flag pole displaying a banner that reads “Save Coal River Mountain”

“That mountain is the mountain I learned to hunt on, it’s the mountain that’s sustained my family for generations. I’ll be a dead man before I see them take what’s left up there,” said
Junior Walk, of West Virginia. Walk lives in the Coal River Valley, directly below Alpha operations on Coal River Mountain. Alpha recently began blasting on the 264 acre Collins Fork mine. Local residents and activists have opposed surface mining on Coal River Mountain since the late 1990s.

2014-06-20 06.25.05-2“I am here today to demand an end to Alpha’s role in the destruction of Appalachia. While coal is exported and profits leave the region, the health effects remain in the communities,” said Camilo Pereira, one of the protestors blocking the office. Two of the protesters in a lockbox at the front door of Alpha’s headquarters and blocked the entrance.

While coal production has decreased nationwide in the past years, coal exports are at an all-time high. The overwhelming majority of coal extracted from Coal River Mountain is metallurgical coal used primarily to produce steel and is likely bound for export markets. Adam Hall, of Glen Daniel, WV, said, “As a country, we have made great strides against the dangers of coal fired power plants. However, new emission regulations will not stop Alpha from blowing up Coal River Mountain and endangering my home and family.”

More than 20 peer-reviewed studies demonstrate a connection between mountaintop removal coal mining operations and increased cases of lung and heart diseases, as well as increased birth defects, early mortality, and depression.

The RAMPS Campaign’s ongoing work against Alpha Natural Resources demands an end to Alpha’s mountaintop removal practices in Appalachia. Furthermore, RAMPS urges the company to re-employ miners for effective and thorough reclamation of retired and abandoned mine sites.

Photos of today’s protest can be found here when available.

Mountain Justice is a regional and national network that has worked for 10 years to support community based, grassroots efforts to end Mountaintop Removal and build a brighter future in Appalachia.