Live video from Chesapeake Climate Action Network at the April 25, 2018, press conference and protest in Richmond. Thanks to Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) for organizing the event, and for all the Delegates and Senators who came and spoke out against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, demanding a stream-by-stream review and asking that food and water be given to all tree sitters.
The press conference, held immediately before the assembly reconvened in its annual veto session, included lawmakers from parts of the state not affected by either proposed pipeline. Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, was among a group of Northern Virginia Democrats joining the protest, dismissing what she called “NOVA versus ROVA [Rest of Virginia] BS. It is our obligation to stand with them,” Roem said.
“Let me be clear,” said Blacksburg Delegate Chris Hurst. “It should not be up to landowners, who have already had their land taken through invalid eminent domain procedures to make sure Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC does its job correctly. It should be our state agencies who lead that effort.”
In a statement last week, Roanoke County said that police had advised the “individuals sitting in two trees” that they were in the right of way granted to the pipeline company through a court order. “They will no longer be allowed to receive supplies from supporters. Anything the individuals need will be available to them when they come down from the trees,” it said. Sen. John Edwards, whose district includes the city of Roanoke and several surrounding counties, said Virginia prison inmates are treated better than the woman currently in a tree sit on her own property. “She hasn’t been convicted of anything, and she’s being treated in an inhumane fashion. I think it’s outrageous,” said Edwards.
On April 18, 2018, Blue Virginia writes, “For the record, here’s what Ralph Northam said in May 2017 about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 1) we need to be ‘very cognizant’ of property rights; 2) ‘we need to be environmentally responsible;’ 3) he supposedly got the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to move to stream-by-stream, ‘site-specific permit’ system, that ‘anywhere there’s a stream or a river, that there will be a site-specific permitting;’ 4) ‘we will use science and transparency if the pipeline moves forward.’ Also for the record, the state certainly has NOT been ‘very cognizant’ of property rights when it comes to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (or the Mountain Valley Pipeline); has NOT been ‘environmentally responsible’ on either pipeline; has NOT moved to a ‘site-specific permit’ system on either pipeline; and has NOT used ‘science and transparency’ on either pipeline in this entire process.”
Failing grade for Northam on his campaign promises!
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.
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
Pipelines are a threat to the clean water Virginians depend on. A recent study, Threats to Water Quality from Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water Crossings in Virginia, confirms that the proposed pipelines will cause massive disruption to streams and wetlands, pollute the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and threaten crucial drinking water supplies. Why should Virginians pay billions of dollars for pipelines that could pollute our water? Virginia governor Ralph Northam has promised to hold these projects to the “highest environmental standards” and that individual reviews of their pollution impacts are needed. Call the Governor at 804-786-2211 and tell him to stay true to his word and keep Virginia’s water clean.
Stronger Together was the theme of the March 17, 2018, Remember and Recommit action at Wintergreen where Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has destroyed our mountains and endangered the headwaters of the south fork of the Rockfish River. At the end of the event, we laid 1000 carnations in the wreckage which was once a forest, to commemorate its beauty and our loss.