Pipeline Fighter Blocks Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

Report from Appalachians Against Pipelines on recent action that shut down construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Montgomery County, VA — Yesterday, pipeline fighter Phillip Flagg locked himself in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, VA. MVP has been clearing and grading this section of the pipeline’s path in preparation to lay pipe. Phillip laid his body in the easement and locked his body to an underground concrete blockade directly in the path of the pipeline. His action stopped MVP work at the site for 7 hours, preventing the company’s progression towards the nearby Yellow Finch tree sits. Around 5:30 pm, Phillip was extracted from his blockade and arrested. He was charged with misdemeanor obstruction and released on $1,000 bail.

Phillip, who previously spent months living in a tree sit blocking the MVP, stated: “I cherished the time I spent in the tree sit, and I think back on it fondly. But I’m not too proud to admit that the time I spent in the oak simply isn’t enough to stop this pipeline. The forces we are facing will not be dissuaded by any individual effort. Each of us has our piece to contribute — when one person steps up, others will follow.”

A banner near the site of Phillip’s blockade read “STOP THE MVP — BLOCK THE PATH — NO PIPELINES ON STOLEN LAND.” The latter part of this message refers to the fact that Indigenous people inhabited the hills and hollers of this region for thousands of years — including Monocan, Moneton, Cherokee, and other Native peoples — before white settlers arrived (bringing with them genocide and forced relocation). Extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure are a continuation of the legacy of colonization; Appalachians Against Pipelines stands in solidarity with Indigenous-led fights against pipelines, from Unist’ot’en to the fight against Line 3 and beyond.

In the holler adjacent to Phillip’s action, the Yellow Finch tree sits have been blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for 313 days and counting. In support of Phillip’s action, one of the anonymous tree sitters stated: “Every day, MVP’s construction work gets close and closer to the Yellow Finch sits, decimating acres of Appalachian forests, mountains, and waterways in its wake. Today and every day, we are putting our bodies on the line to stop it. Now is the time to stand up and fight back against the destruction of the earth. Join us! We’re still here. We won’t back down.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, 303-mile fracked gas pipeline that runs from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Earlier this month, a 70-mile extension into North Carolina (which was proposed in 2018) was denied its Section 401 Water Quality Certification by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The Mountain Valley Pipeline endangers water, ecosystems, and communities along its route, contributes to climate change, increases demand for natural gas (and as a result, fracking), and is entrenched in corrupt political processes.

Resistance to the pipeline has only grown since the pipeline’s proposal in 2014. Grassroots-led pipeline monitoring and a nonviolent direct action campaign are ongoing. On June 17, 2019, builders admitted that the project’s budget has ballooned to $5 billion and that completion date has been delayed by 1.5 years at least.

The pipeline is in a state of uncertainty. MVP currently lacks permission to cross many water bodies and has been forced to explore alternate approaches in crossing through the Jefferson National Forest. The coming months will show whether construction is able to move forward in those areas, and whether investors will continue to believe in the pipeline’s ever-distant goal of completion.

Appalachia: Police and MVP Security Attempt Eviction of Yellow Finch Tree-Sit

via Appalachians Against Pipelines

via Appalachians Against Pipelines.

“The tree sitters are holding strong. We are still here. Today is day 267.

At the Yellow Finch tree sits in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, cops have left the scene (for now). MVP is still lurking down the road. We are still asking for local support — if you are available and can come out today during the day, we’d love to see you. If not, donate.

Here is a note from one of the sitters:

“Not all tree sitters enjoy the heights. Some impressive souls brave their worst fear. But for me, it is a perk, and before I climbed trees I climbed rocks.

Nothing is quite like the odd sensation of dangling in free space. Hundreds of feet up, trusting the ropes but without your weight in them, dangling above them only by your hands on tiny rock ledges. Sensing that your life is very much in your own hands.

We like to call our brief spaces of liberation ‘autonomous zones’. This is a little tongue-in-cheek. The cops could come at any time. But it is also the reality of the space

that we are all autonomous
that we are all ungovernable

At 6 A.M., I was rudely awakened by MVP attempting to climb the neighboring white pine. 20 workers were sprawled out beneath the two sits, using increasingly sketchy tactics to try and enter the tree.

Here I am, dangling once more into the terrifying freedom of choice.

Photo via Appalachians Against Pipelines.

Toss down your rope. Ignore the bustle below. Hope your friend catches it. Hope security knows / believes that touching them is a crime. Up the rope, to the traverse. Get out your gear. Attach. Now sprint. You are faster than them, because you are freer. Into the danger. Into harm’s way. Into this tree they would have cut today. And they leave. Awkwardly, bashfully. Retreating back to law & order, where the courts are still ignoring them.

It is easy to feel helpless. But even in the worst of circumstances, you will always have yourself. And while the doctrine of politics might tell you that decisions are somewhere else, out in the world, intangible and out of reach, they are not. They are yours. Reach up the face of the cliff and grasp for rough granite. Move now, before your muscles give out. Before down is the only way forward. And I’ll meet you there. Up at the crest. Where the wind blows the rock smooth and the land stretches out beneath you for miles. Where you can see it. Something possible.

We are still here. And will continue to be. Bolstered by that miraculous thing which is freedom. Dangling on the precipice of another world.

Donate to support ongoing resistance: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

For an update on this morning’s visit from MVP & law enforcement, see our last post: https://www.facebook.com/appalachiansagainstpipelines/posts/2047531472025736″

“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

Vermont Pipeline Opponents Scale Tree, Halt Land Clearing for Pipeline?

treevia Rising Tide Vermont

[UPDATE: Day 2 Press Release]

Monkton, Vt. – For the second time in less than a month, opponents of Vermont Gas Systems’ fracked gas pipeline have taken to the trees to prevent pipeline construction in Addison County. An individual is sitting in a platform thirty feet high, effectively stopping crews from clearing the pipeline route.

“As we’ve said before, this pipeline ends with us. We don’t see the state’s decision to support this polluting, expensive pipeline as a legitimate decision, and will continue to get in the way of construction as much as possible,” Addie Herbert of Rising Tide Vermont.

Vermonters from across the state have attempted to stop the pipeline for years, through testifying at public hearings, writing letters, appealing to elected officials and intervening in the controversial Public Service Board process. Many feel they are left with no recourse but to directly intervene in construction.

“The Public Service Board showed their true colors recently, when they proposed barring the public from pipeline hearings,” said Jane Palmer, who’s farm is less than half a mile from the tree sit. “It’s no surprise that people are putting their bodies on the line when the state is putting corporations above democracy.”

Vermont Gas Systems sources its gas from the Western Canada Shale Basin, one of the largest deposits of oil and gas in the world. If built, this pipeline will become a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. Opponents see the project as a direct link to the carbon and methane time bomb that scientists have warned

“We’re calling on all who are fighting to increase local control over energy projects in the state to join us in our effort to stop this undesirable pipeline,” Herbert said, in reference to recent legislation aimed at increasing town oversight in regards to renewable energy siting. “If we are to meet our energy needs in this state without wrecking the climate or landscapes of other communities, we need to end this system of unaccountable, corporate-owned energy and build a truly democratic energy system.”