Category Archives: Tree cutting

MVP Accused of Illegal Tree Cutting

Notification from Preserve Floyd:

“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.”

End of the Line: Episode 15, Two More Trees

Listen to the new End of the Line podcast, Episode 15, Two Trees pt 2 (Original air date: 4/6/18. Treesitters on top of Peters Mountain Stand have wondered if their action might be a spark to inspire pipeline fighters. Now others have answered their call, taking to the trees in the wetlands of Bent Mountain.

Use the links in the sidebar to the right to listen to this and earlier End of the Line podcasts.

Protesters Still in Trees

Protesters have occupied trees on Peters Mountain in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for a full month, preventing its construction.

As a showdown looms, they seem to have the support of many local residents along the southeast border of West Virginia.

A post from Chesapeake Climate Action Network‘s Mike Tidwell tells us, “When the pipeline companies tried to get Monroe County Circuit Court judge Robert Irons to remove the protestors, the judge said this: ‘There is no showing that there is a national shortage of gas, an emergency requiring immediate need of delivery of gas…or some other factor causing irreparable harm.’ In fact, the judge continued, the public’s interest is more closely aligned with the tree-sitters. The protestors ‘generally represent the interest of the public and the environment, such as the interest in protecting the waters underlying Peters Mountain, its flora and fauna, its view shed, the Appalachian Trail and similar interests that will or may be destroyed, if this request for a preliminary injunction is granted.'”

Meanwhile, another protestor has taken to the trees on private land in Roanoke County.  See news reports from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and WSLS.

Appalachians Against Pipelines confirmed on April 3, 2018, that the US Forest Service was preventing ground support from delivering food and water to the monopod blockade on Peters Mountain. Other forms of harassment include searching bags at the gate before folks approach the pod, shining bright lights on the sitter all night long, and maintaining a 24/7 armed forest service presence around the blockade.

Appalachians Against Pipelines says the state’s actions are cowardly and put the sitter’s safety at risk; they ask that people call the US Forest Service and local law enforcement to protest:
US Forest Service: 540-265-5100
Dublin State Police Office: 540-643-2560
Wytheville State Police Office: 800-542-8716

End of the Line: Episode 14, Two Trees

Listen to the new End of the Line podcast, Episode 14, Two Trees (Original air date: 3/30/18).  Through wind storms, snow storms, two court hearings, and a temporary restraining order, the support for the treesitters at Peters Mountain Stand has only grown. Have they sparked something beyond just protecting these two trees?

Use the links in the sidebar to the right to listen to this and earlier End of the Line podcasts.

FERC Denies Dominion Request to Extend Tree-Cutting

On March 28, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today issued a denial of the request by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC to extend for two months the right to fell trees for the ACP. Read the FERC denial here.

In March 2017, based on consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Dominion had agreed to the tree-felling restrictions as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s environmental review process, saying they planned to “comply with these time-of-year restrictions by clearing trees outside of the migratory bird nesting season, and outside of the Indiana bat summer season in occupied habitat.”  Tree felling in Virginia would be restricted from March 15 through August 30 for the migratory bird nesting season.  For Indiana bats, if a tree-felling site is within five miles of a known hibernacula, restrictions apply for April 1-Nov. 15; if a site is not within five miles of a known hibernacula, April 15-Sept. 15.

But then on March 15, 2018, Dominion told FERC that despite their best efforts, they would “be unable to complete the scheduled tree felling … before the existing time-of-year restrictions go into effect,” and they therefore sought “approval to continue tree felling until May 15, 2018, except in U.S. Forest Service lands and in areas where Indiana bats are present or where tree felling would be within five miles of known Indiana bat hibernacula, within a quarter-mile of known Northern long-eared bat hibernacula, or within 150 feet of occupied Northern long-eared bat maternity roosts.”

As an article in Highland County’s The Recorder noted, “Dominion’s request for the extension had generated a tidal wave of protests asking FERC to deny it because the intent was to avoid winged species migration patterns, something an extension would make meaningless.”

FERC denied that request, effectively delaying further preparation for pipeline construction for several months in Virginia.

David Sligh, a former DEQ engineer, now conservation director for Wild Virginia, commented, “Even FERC could not swallow the company’s weak and transparent claims that they’d provide the same level of protection while still cutting far into the period when protective measures are most important.”

Greg Buppert, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said, “Those restrictions were put in place for an important purpose, which was to protect migratory birds and bats.  And we think FERC made the right decision and held Dominion to its promise to implement those restrictions for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”