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Police Give Mountain Valley Pipeline Protester Half Hour to Get Out of Her Tree

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The latest from the fine folks at Preserve Floyd. Hello Gov. Northam? Any thoughts on any of this, or does the cat still firmly have your tongue in its claws?

Police gave Red half an hour to get out of her tree. Numbers matter. Please show up if you can. Be calm and respectful. Listen to landowners. 8815 Poor Mountain Rd. Bent Mtn VA. Thank you.

Report from community member from yesterday:

“We are in Bent Mountain monitoring the progress of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as it crosses private properties. Unfortunately, there are no government agencies on the ground that monitor work, so we have to watch on our own to ensure no violations are made. The problem is that the Roanoke County police arrive (usually MVP calls them when they see us, despite the fact that we do not interfere with any progress), they claim to be “keeping the peace,” but they are actually simply flexing the muscles of MVP to try to make us go away. For example, today two people were arrested on Bent Mountain for “interfering,” despite the fact that they were well outside the Limits of Disturbance flagged by MVP themselves. The police cited a “conversation in the woods” with MVP that did not allow the people within a certain distance of the LOD – a rule that can be found nowhere in writing. This is very concerning. How can we feel safe and secure monitoring the work on landowner’s properties with a police force that can arrest us based on conversations we are not privy to and made-up rules?

This evening I was with landowners on their property on Bent Mountain where MVP is conducting an archaeological dig (contracting it out, actually). Because there is evidence that their land, including the section the proposed pipeline would run through, holds ancient Native American artifacts, FERC has required MVP to excavate the area. The landowner was on his land taking photos of the trees cut down today (in violation of a letter from FERC, but this is a whole other conversation). He was nowhere near the LOD set by MVP. The security crews called the police on him even after he identified himself as the landowner. When the police arrived, they were extremely discriminatory towards he landowners and their friends stating things such as that we were creating “civil disobedience” and that his officers could be “doing something else in the county.” We reminded the Sgt. that we did not call him, MVP did. He was extremely patronizing and told the landowner he would hear from them if any charges were made. The landowner was flabbergasted, as he had broken no laws.”

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UPDATE 12:16 pm: Chainsaws are approaching Red’s Tree. Numbers matter. Please show up if you can. Be calm and respectful. Listen to landowners. 8815 Poor Mountain Rd. Bent Mtn VA. Thank you.

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  • Del. Sam Rasoul: “This is God awful. A clear abuse of power. Forceful taking of private property for the wealth of a for profit out of state firm! Hundreds of thousands of people could have their water sources impacted! Shameful that the state has not protected our citizens.”

    • Sharon Ponton

      Thank you, Delegate Rasoul.

  • UPDATE from Preserve Floyd:

    Today, while the State Water Control Board met in Richmond to trample all over our water rights and protections, the police were setting up a command center in Bent Mountain because of a 61 year old woman, Red, who has been camped in a tree since Easter to save it from being cut down.

    Red says: #thislandismyheart.
    Red will not back down.
    Red is our heroine.
    Red is terrified.

    At this moment, mid-afternoon on April 12, Police have told ground support that they are not allowed to provide Red with food or water. Nobody was allowed to cross the MVP’s line to take her lunch. It appears that they intend to starve her down.

    The MVP stated, in their OWN ARGUMENT to Federal Judge Elizabeth Dillon, that they had to quit cutting by March 31 due to protections of bats, birds and water. This is why they were legitimized by a corrupt system to steal people’s land for their so-called Mountain Valley pipeline. They are breaking the law. Law enforcement has tried to say that they cannot hold the MVP accountable for a court order, only if they break an actual law, and yet they are using same said court order as a means to stifle our rights, lives, land, air, water, and TREES. They are making up their own court orders in the woods while on the cell phone with the Roanoke commonwealth’s attorney in order to arrest peaceful protectors.

    This is tyranny.

    #standwithRED

  • Del. Marcus Simon: “This is a really troubling story. It’s disappointing to see something like this going on in Virginia. I feel for the property owners and the law enforcement officials who have a job to do. I think we owe it to them to gain some clarity about when, where and why (and if) this pipeline is going to go. Is the pipeline a done deal already? Is it a completely foregone conclusion that these trees have to come down? Wasn’t there an order to stop cutting trees down after March 31st? Why is this being allowed to continue? I think rather than trying to starve a woman out of her tree on her property, we ought to address the real process questions that exist about this project.”

  • Del. Mark Keam: “I’m not sure how many folks in Northern Virginia are aware of the controversial natural gas pipelines that are proposed in the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley since neither routes are that close to us.

    I don’t know a lot about them myself, but I am concerned that these projects appear to be moving forward without much public scrutiny — until now.

    A few courageous activists have been living in a tree house to protest the cutting down of more trees to build the Mountain Valley project. It now looks like law enforcement is stepping in to remove the protesters:
    https://www.wsls.com/…/mountain-valley-pipeline-tension-ris…

    If you want to learn more about this issue, please join me on this Facebook Live event next Wednesday hosted by my friend Ali Symons.”

  • Thank you Tom Perriello:

    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/tomperrielloutrageous.jpg

    “As protests escalate in Appalachia, the MVPipeline remains bad for consumers and local business. This could all be halted under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act at least until the company has met the standards of review for all stream and water crossings.”

  • Del. Jennifer Boysko adds her voice – thank you!

    “This is terribly disturbing. While I have not spoken to any of the affected parties directly, a picture says a thousand words. I ask, is it not possible to respect her concerns? How would any of us feel if this were happening to us? What can be done to find an acceptable resolution?”