Ongoing Police Harassment of Pipeline Fighters in Appalachia

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

via Appalachians Against Pipelines

UPDATE: “Cops DRESSED AS PIPELINE WORKERS violently arrested our friend at the Yellow Finch tree sits yesterday.

Disguised as an erosion control crew, undercover cops tackled this pipeline resister to the ground and hauled them off to jail on behalf of MVP. They were brutally dragged by their shoulders away from the sits. AND the state thugs never showed our friend a warrant before taking them into custody. Collusion between police and the multi billion dollar Mountain Valley Pipeline project is clearer than ever!

The pipeline fighter is still in jail and is being help without bail! This is an unusually harsh penalty that has been applied to pipeline resistance in Virginia again and again.

We know that the police and the courts are out to protect corporate interests, but we won’t let that scare us! FTP!!

Our friend has sustained some injuries, but they are in high spirits and will continue to fight!”

Original Post:“Despite MVP having their permit process delayed until at least early April, the collusion between the state and extractive industry goons is ramping up. For the past few days we have seen both uniformed and undercover cops riding with workers doing “erosion control” in an attempt to intimidate those taking a stand against corporate eco-terrorism in Appalachia.

Also, Global Security workers, headed in this area by Stephen Len McGary, potentially with undercover police have walked into camp off of their Limit Of Destruction, where land defenders have been holding space for 533 days, supporting the trees in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The state will use any excuse to escalate the situation and use force against us. We will not be deterred! We are here and encourage peoples to rise up, wherever they are at, against the violent colonial death machine. It is everywhere. It is bigger than this 42 inch, 300 mile, fracked gas pipeline. We exist now amid climate chaos thanks to the continued fierce resistance to colonization among indigenous peoples and resistance fighters worldwide. If you are reading this we are not far from you. There is struggle and action everywhere. Find them. Act.”

via Appalachians Against Pipelines

From Yellow Finch to Wet’suwet’en, NO PIPELINES, NO BORDERS, NO RCMP, NO SURRENDER!”

To donate to the ongoing resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, go here.

To join the Appalachian Climate Action Camp on March 6th-15th, go here.

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