Category Archives: Citizen Activism

New Protest Site Blocks MVP Access Road in Jefferson National Forest


Early on May 21, 2018, pipeline protesters in the Jefferson National Forest erected a new aerial blockade on Pocahontas Road near Narrows, VA. The blockade consists of a protester on a platform 30 feet in the air, suspended from a horizontal rope tied to surrounding trees. Banners at the site read “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?” and “STILL HERE.” Pocahontas Road is a Forest Service road and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) access road that leads to the construction site for MVP’s intended boring through Peter’s Mountain, under the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The presence of this roadblock prevents MVP’s continued construction of the access road and boring site, which has already been significantly delayed for well over 50 days by the presence of protester Nutty in an aerial blockade on the same road less than 3 miles away.

“I am taking a stand on Peters Mountain to prevent the further devastation of these lands by the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” said Fern MacDougal, the protester suspended in the new blockade. “Cutting through delicate karst topography and 300 miles of contiguous forest and family farms seized by eminent domain, MVP threatens to damage the health and wellbeing of poor and oppressed communities along the pipeline route by threatening the air, soil, and water. This pipeline will catalyze the growth and expansion of gas extraction across Appalachia, an industry which has already caused permanent harm to many communities. We are dedicated to resisting this reckless endangerment of the land and people as long as MVP continues to operate.” MacDougal further stated that she was inspired to take this action by monopod sitter Nutty and by David Buckel, an LGBTQ rights lawyer who died in April after setting himself on fire as a protest against the use of fossil fuels.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC has faced significant resistance to its plans for this 42-inch diameter fracked gas pipeline since 2014. In the past few months, numerous sites of direct action have sprung up, severely interfering with pipeline construction. A total of nine aerial blockades have now been launched by various groups and individuals across the pipeline route, including a tree sit near the ridge on Peters Mountain and a monopod blockade on Pocahontas Road, which have been occupied since February 26 and March 28, respectively.

Korine Kolivras, a resident of neighboring Montgomery County, VA who has been active in the pipeline resistance, explained her support for the new blockade: “We need clean drinking water. We need to live without fear of a massive explosion. We do not need another pipeline. We do not need to hand over our lands just so the pockets of executives can fill even further. This pipeline is not a public good; it benefits only corporate interests. I support continued actions to stop this unnecessary pipeline that would ruin our beautiful forests and communities. We the people are speaking.”

Since the launch of the first tree sit in the Jefferson National Forest — and in fact, since the initial proposal of the Mountain Valley Pipeline — Jefferson National Forest Supervisor Joby Timm has made it clear the he and the US Forest Service (USFS) value the interests of a private pipeline company over that of the people and ecosystems it will devastate. From amending the Forest Plan to approve the pipeline, to issuing numerous “emergency” forest and road closures, to arresting multiple supporters on the ground while preventing resupplies to the sitters, the USFS has made its stance clear. MVP continues to claim that it is on schedule for construction, although it remains to be seen how the company intends to meet its planned in-service date of late 2018, as the flames of resistance continue to spread.

Little Pink House: Special Showing

WHERE: The Regal Stonefield, 1954 Swanson Dr, Charlottesville
WHEN: Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are $12 general admission, and proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Friends of Nelson. You must buy your tickets online; no tickets will be sold at the door. Purchase tickets here: https://www.tugg.com/events/little-pink-house-dauw

Based on a true story, a small-town paramedic named Susette Kelo leaves a bad marriage, and starts over in a new town. She buys a rundown cottage with a gorgeous water view. She fixes it up and paints it pink. Then she discovers powerful politicians want to bulldoze her blue-collar neighborhood for the benefit of a multi-billion dollar corporation. With the help of a young lawyer named Scott Bullock, Susette emerges as the reluctant leader of her neighbors in an epic battle that goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, inspires a nation, and helps millions of Americans protect their homes.

In 2005, the nation was shocked by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo vs. New London. In the judgment, the court said that a local government could forcibly seize people’s homes, through eminent domain, in order to transfer the property to a major corporation for development. The response was immediate. Across the country, states passed legislation and amended constitutions to curtail the power of eminent domain.  In 2012, the people of Virginia spoke out overwhelmingly when more than 2.6 million citizens (74.45% of votes cast) approved amending the state constitution to prohibit eminent domain from being invoked if the “primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue or economic development.”

Plaintiff Susette Kelo’s fight has been dramatized in this new film, Little Pink House, starring the brilliant, Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener as Kelo.

The film is being distributed in an unorthodox manner. Local people sign up to bring it to their town and, if enough tickets are sold, a screening proceeds at a selected local theater. We are pleased to announce that Doug Hornig has secured a showing of the film in Charlottesville:

WHERE: The Regal Stonefield, 1954 Swanson Dr, Charlottesville
WHEN: Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are $12 general admission, and proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Friends of Nelson. You must buy your tickets online; no tickets will be sold at the door. Purchase tickets here: https://www.tugg.com/events/little-pink-house-dauw

Eminent domain is a hot button topic here in central Virginia, as Dominion intends to use it to seize private property for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Many of us have been fighting them for several years now, and continue to do so.

We hope to use this event to help educate the public about the importance of fighting eminent domain abuse. Following the film, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A featuring: John Kramer – Institute for Justice, Chuck Lollar – Attorney specializing in eminent domain cases, Richard Averitt – Property owner impacted by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Joyce Burton – Board member, Friends of Nelson, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping this unnecessary pipeline.

Join us – and bring family, friends, and neighbors! We’ll see you there!

Send Comments to State Water Control Board Before May 30

Send your comments to the State Water Control Board before the May 30, 2018, deadline. Your comments are especially important in light of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife permit vacated earlier this week by the court. As deficiencies in federal permits come to light, the State Water Board’s review of Nationwide Permit 12 is crucial. A condition of the Nationwide Permit 12 is that developers hold a valid biological opinion and take statement from the Fish and Wildlife Service, a permit that is now invalid.

Where to send your comments? What to say?  Specific streams or wetlands to mention? See our May 4, 2018, post.

Join the Circle of Protection


We are re-posting this film, made last summer, because it gives facts that have not YET changed. “Thou Shall Have No Dominion Here” – Walking the Line’s 6th film on the issues of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline focuses on the Buckingham Compressor Station as a stark example of environmental racism and injustice. With Pastor Paul Wilson of the Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist Churches, cultural anthropologist Lakshmi Fjord, PhD, from Friends of Buckingham and Joseph Jeeva Abate from YES (Yogaville Environmental Solutions).

Join a community fighting for its water, its life every Sunday at the Circle of Protection. Circle of Protection is a weekly Interfaith Prayer Vigil to protect Buckingham County from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the proposed Union Hill ACP Compressor Station. Expect neighbors, prayer, story, poetry and song. The vigils are open air on the grounds of Union Hill Baptist Church, 1496 Union Hill Road (State Route 663), Buckingham, VA.

From the Monopod


From the monopod [May 8, 2018]: I wanted to write in response to the concerns I know many have expressed as to my health as I finish off my sixth week of living on this monopod.

I have gallons of water stored. I still have a stock of energy bars and some packets of applesauce. This is, comparatively, an extremely mild form of deprivation, and one I’m fortunate my body seems to have adapted well to. Recently a doctor hiked up to check on me, and asked (via megaphone, over the noise of the generator the cops turned on) if I needed any medicine. I don’t; all the medicine I want right now is to hear that rebellion is spreading.

A couple of members of the Giles County Rescue Squad (local ambulance, not rope rescue) have been coming here on their own time to check on me, and have been allowed to come in the closure and talk (though they cannot send anything up either). One of them warned me of the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure, which I am not experiencing, and said I was at increased risk of DVT (blood clots), which I mitigate by exercising my legs. Some aspects of living up here are uncomfortable, but none of this is life threatening as long as the support lines running to the four anchors for this pole remain intact.

There are far too many who do face life threatening risks from pipelines in our region.

Countless people and families are being confronted with the future of having their homes become part of the blast zone of pipelines carrying highly explosive fracked gas. Communities like Union Hill along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route are being threatened with the toxic fumes of compressor stations.

Fight for their (and for your) health.

Tracts of contiguous forest habitat are being fragmented by pipelines, forested wetlands destroyed, waterways and aquifers threatened by inevitable pipeline leaks and spills.

Fight for their health.

We live in a toxic civilization that is killing us all (some faster than others) and decimating the health of our planet at a terrifying rate.

So we all have some major health concerns. Enough, certainly, to take the fire in our hearts, our rage against all that is happening to us, our families, our friends, our earth, and let it loose against those trying to destroy us.

Let’s prove that when the cops and pipeline security lounge and laugh at their camp under the monopod, comfortable in their knowledge that I can’t stay up here forever, they are grievously underestimating our strength and our determination to keep on fighting. Not in one place, not with one tactic, but with myriad possibilities for confrontation, disruption and attack.

Spread that fire!

-Nutty