In their meeting on April 26, 2018, the Highland County Board of Supervisors and Highland County Planning Commission held hearings and reviewed applications related to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.
Supervisors cited neighborhood incompatibility and denied the application to rezone the Jack Mountain Village property in Monterey, tabled the application to rezone a property in McDowell from residential to agricultural so the property will no longer be used for the pipeline project, and tabled action on the request for a conditional use permit for a construction yard on the same property.
Planners forwarded to the Supervisors with no recommendation the application for a conditional use permit for an RV park/camp on a property in the Blue Grass; Supervisors decided to wait for new zoning ordinance language regarding temporary work camps before considering the request. Planners found the pipeline project to be substantially in accord with the Highland County Comprehensive Plan.
A report from Carolyn and Ian Reilly about the new tree sit:
“In the farmlands of Franklin County, a new stand against the Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun. Three tree sits loom directly in the path of the pipeline’s destruction, making it impossible to clear the way without severely injuring the inhabitants of those trees. The sits tower over 75 feet off the ground of a small family farm’s livestock pasture, overlooking Little and Teel creeks, home to the endangered Roanoke Log Perch.
“The tree sits build upon two other blockades to construction- a stand one hundred miles West, on Peters Mountain, and twenty miles West, in Bent Mountain, VA. One tree sitter stated, “The other tree sits show us that there are still effective ways to interrupt the violence of this proposed pipeline. We are celebrating their spirit of resistance in the mountains and bringing it down to the farmlands, where so much remains at stake. The fire truly is catching.” Local farmers Ian and Carolyn Reilly have been fighting the pipeline for their family’s future and to protect the soil and water. Using restorative practices, the Reilly’s are stewards of the earth. Ian Reilly said, “Launching Little Teel Crossing is an act of protection for our family’s home, land and water. This farm has been free from chemicals for decades. As farmers seeking to renew the land, we intend to keep it that way.”
“MVP’s 125-foot limits of destruction cuts through several family farms in Franklin County—places where local beef, honey, poultry, and produce are cultivated. According to the Roanoke Times, Precision Pipeline, the company contracted to construct the MVP, has a history of environmental violations and lawsuits for construction of several other pipelines.”
Red is still tree sitting on her own land. Hear what her husband has to say.
Those taking direct action to block construction of fracked gas pipelines in Virginia are peaceful and informed. They are diverse and they are us. “Stand with Red: It’s a Family Affair” from Water is life. Protect it. allows you to meet one marriage at the center of this courage. The Terry family of Bent Mountain gladly gave private land for the local school, now community center, and again gave land to power lines because these sacrifices benefited the local common good. They are resisting the MVP because it harms the local good, the water future, and benefits only a private out of state corporation. Please support all those protecting your water with your presence, your prayers and your support.
Dominion is holding construction and job fair open houses in Augusta County on April 24 and Buckingham County on April 25 (see below and on Events calendar for details) to enlighten us about “construction activities, including safety measures.”
Writing in the April 19, 2018 News Leader, Nancy Sorrells, with Friends of Augusta, has some suggestions for questions you might ask:
How many jobs will there be for residents of Augusta/Buckingham Counties?
Dominion referred to approximately 400 workers showing up each day at the proposed Churchville pipe yard in Augusta, so you might inquire as to where those folks will be living.
For communities being impacted by an influx of workers, will Dominion share numbers, expected traffic counts, and roadways being traveled, vital information for area residents who might want to adjust commuter schedules, to schools that might want to alter bus routes, and to our emergency services?
Ask for specifics on the length of time pipes can be exposed to sunlight and weather events before the coating starts to degrade, thus endangering communities through which the compromised pipe will run.
Ask why pipelines built in the 21st century are failing at a rate faster than any time in history, more often than those put in the ground in the 1940s.
Ask Dominion if it is true that they plan to dynamite through streams and backfill them with cement (as shown on some of the very few site-specific plans that have been made public)
Ask if they plan to rip off the sides of mountains, insert their pipes, and then attempt to hold those steep slopes in place with heavy-wire mesh fastened to the bedrock with 15-foot nails (as shown on some of the very few site-specific plans that have been made public)
Ask if Dominion has seen the photos of their survey stakes under water after the three-inch rain on April 15-16, and whether or not that calls into question the safety of their scheme.
And there are many other questions that you could ask!
A video from Water Is Life. Protect It, and the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice: Red Terry, speaking from the tree stand on her own property on Bent Mountain, in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, where local officials and MVP’s private security are trying to starve her out.
“This is a more comprehensive view of what happened yesterday [April 9, 2018] when the MVP’s tree-cutting crew, Northern, tried to cut trees on Poor Mountain. Deepest of appreciation for the courageous protectors on the ground in the snow facing the intimidation of chainsaws, security teams and police in order to give witness to this illegal and immoral act. The MVP LLC is in direct violation of their own argument to Federal Judge Elizabeth Dillon who awarded them immediate possession of property to cut trees based on testimony that the deadline for cutting was March 31 and they would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if they were not allowed early entry. What does that mean? They do not have all the permits necessary to cut and the restrictions on cutting are fairly clear in terms of protections of endangered species and protected waterways. They were ‘allowed’ to cut BUT ONLY UNTIL MARCH 31. ….
As documented in the [above] video and observed by a certified legal observer, the notice of violation was clearly stated to the security official and the crew. They chose to proceed regardless. They are now officially engaging in illegal tree-cutting after being issued a warning based on legal evidence provided in a necessary and appropriate Citizen’s Notice of Violation and should be held accountable to the law.”