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

 

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″

West Virginia: 24 Arrested at the Gates of Toxic Rockwool Factory

pic via DC Media Group

Yesterday in Jefferson County, WV, over 300 community members showed up to take their concerns over toxic air and water pollution from a Danish Rockwool insulation factory straight to its gates.

Twenty-four people sat in and were arrested at the gates of the proposed Rockwool insulation plant. Local police barred the press and legal observers from video taping or photographing the arrests.

They are choosing to make us their guinea pigs, they are choosing to put us in harms way, they are choosing to save money by using coal and gas and putting children in direct harms way its disgusting and I’m 100% against this factory, we will stop it,” Scott Sarich said, a protester and a parent.

The company is building an insulation manufacturing plant that will spew hazardous toxins into the community’s air and water.

Local, state and federal officials have secretly committed over $37 million for incentives to a Danish corporation that would impose a polluting factory and significantly deteriorate our land, air and water. The factory site is within 2 miles of public schools attended by 30% of the county’s students. The pollutants emitted by the factory include phenol, formaldehyde, methane and PM 2.5 that affect the kidney, liver, brain, heart and lungs.  Furthermore, the 1400 acre industrial zone will use large amounts of water, coal and fracked gas in its operation.

To date, the WV Dept. of Environment has issued all the necessary permits for construction and operation, and the project has been supported by Senator Joe Manchin. (Shocking, we know.)

This is one of many mass arrests fighting the project organized by Resist Rockwool in recent months. Previous actions included sit-ins at Manchin’s D.C. office and the Danish embassy in D.C.