A Visit to the Terrys

Friends of Nelson stands with Red (and other tree sitters). Photo by Kathy Versluys.

Richard and Jill Averitt visited Red and Minor Terry on Sunday April 29, 2018. Here is their report.

Richard and I went to visit Red and Minor on Sunday. They have been sitting in the trees for about a month now. We brought with us a young reporter with NPR’s show With Good Reason. She spent about 45 minutes interviewing Red. They would not allow her to send up a mic so she had to shout. Red’s voice projects very well though so it was still possible to conduct a quality interview. It was cold and windy yesterday and I was worried about her last night even though I know she has been up there in much colder weather. I don’t know how she is doing this. They are giving her the same food three times a day and she says the white bread is always stale. She gave a good interview and is a spitfire of a woman. I’m so grateful and proud of her.

There are three warrants for her arrest taped to the base of the tree. She has about five officers waiting at the bottom of the tree to arrest her. All the cop cars left before we arrived. They don’t like to be seen when they know press is coming. The campers told us they always leave. Today Rolling Stone is rumored to have sent a reporter.. On Saturday, a film crew from LA showed up. In the short time we were there, a bunch of local children poured through to say hello and to have a May pole dance just outside the police tape.. It was nice to hear the children’s laughter.

I wanted so badly to throw her a hamburger or something but folks at camp told me that, if I did that, they would arrest me for aiding and abetting! You would think she is a murderer that’s armed and dangerous.

Minor’s camp was much quieter. The day we were there she requested sunscreen and they would not give it to her. Soon she will not need it as all the leaves will fill out the trees and block the sun and her. I worry that when the leaves bud out no one will be able to see her anymore. Her brother is staying near Minor in a tent and her friend was there to play books on tape for her. She finished reading all the ones she had.

Back at our car, Minor’s boyfriend and another man reported the MVP folks were trespassing. They were not using the access areas that they are supposed to use to get to the pipeline easement.. Those areas are all wetlands (which I was told were never identified in the EIS) with at least knee deep water in some places. Minor’s boyfriend put up a blockade of brambles and took out their illegal log bridge so that the MVP folks would have to go back the way they were supposed to go, through the wetlands. Police standing nearby didn’t seem to care that MVP folks were breaking the law on the Terry’s land.

If you get a chance to see them it’s totally worth the drive. When the reporter asked Red who she is doing this for she answered “Everyone. Everyone.” Please keep them in your thoughts. Tomorrow is their case in court. The lawyers came while we were there and the police let them send up some papers for her to look over.

She is amazing. She is strong. She is representing all of us right now.

To their report on visiting the Terrys, they add this note:

Please don’t forget about the monopod sitter who has broken a monopod-sit record at 33 days. But she is STILL not getting food and water. Her sit is the smallest, the size of a small cot, and she could not have been able to store much food. And the arduous trek through the woods, 125′ from the road means she is getting few visitors.

Other tree sitters continue at Little Teel Crossing and on Peter’s Mountain.

On May 1, 2018, in US District Court in Roanoke, Mountain Valley Pipeline lawyers argued their case against the Terrys.  The Roanoke Times reported that evening, “Two pipeline protesters stuck to their positions in trees atop Bent Mountain on Tuesday while, in the valley below them, lawyers went to a federal courthouse to argue their fate. Attorneys for the Mountain Valley Pipeline said that 61-year-old Theresa “Red” Terry and her daughter, Theresa Minor Terry, are blocking tree cutting for the natural gas pipeline and should be found in contempt of court. They cited an order from U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon that gave Mountain Valley the power, through the laws of eminent domain, to run its pipeline through private land owned by the Terry family. Roanoke attorney Tom Bondurant, who represents the Terrys, flipped that argument around — asserting it was Mountain Valley that should be held in contempt for misrepresenting to the court key facts during an earlier hearing in the condemnation proceedings. After hearing several hours of testimony and arguments, Dillon said she will issue a written opinion ‘as quickly as I can.’”