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Video: US Forest Service Threatens Legal Action, Denies Danger to Anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline “Monopod” Sitter

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See below for video of the US Forest Service guy threatening legal action, the anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline activist pointing out potential danger to the “monopod” sitter, and a note from the monopod sitter on “harassment from [the] Forest Service” and how “The presence of more people here means that the Forest Service knows their actions are being carefully watched, and that many, many people care about whether they endanger my safety or harass me and and my friends.” Great job to all the protesters! Meanwhile, where’s Gov. Northam on this? To date, his silence has been deafening…

A note from the monopod sitter on harassment from Forest Service last night. PLEASE COME VISIT the monopod and the tree sits!!!

The sitter says, “The presence of more people here means that the Forest Service knows their actions are being carefully watched, and that many, many people care about whether they endanger my safety or harass me and and my friends.”

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Yesterday, clergy and friends hiked up to share kind words, a beautiful song, and attempt a resupply. It seems the Forest Service did not appreciate this.

Yesterday evening, apparently short on original ideas, they began by setting up a pop up tent in the road near the base of the pole (around a week after friends on the ground set up camp under a pop up). A cop was stationed there all night, and he spent a brief part of the evening blaring snippets of songs very loud out of some device.

Soon after setting up the tent, cops still stationed in vehicles at the gate began once again shaking and examining the front anchor line. They were not talking loud enough to hear, and they had set up a spotlight so I could not see what they were doing, but ground support relayed that they were talking about redirecting the line at the gate. It was the second time they attempted to do so, the last time being when the blockade was first erected; yesterday they didn’t even attach anything to the line before giving up.

This monopod is rigged to be safe and vertical as it is currently attached to its four anchor systems: the gate, a low traverse stretching across the road, and a tree on either side of the road. We can’t fully predict how this very heavy log dug into the ground in a dirt road would behave if the positions of any of the anchors were changed, let alone if an anchor were removed. It’s always alarming when Forest Service personnel threaten to mess with the lines or seem prepared to attempt extraction without anyone present with any real rigging and rope rescue expertise. Fortunately, they’ve never gotten far. After a bit of a stressful start to the night, we’re all still here. I don’t have any plans of coming down.

I’m here to stop Mountain Valley Pipeline from working on this road, and I’m here because so many people have shown how much they care for this land and support the efforts to defend it. This morning I’ve already gotten to speak to a couple of folks who hiked up to visit the blockade, one of whom had once hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. The forest service claims to care about through hikers, and to prioritize the people who come out to enjoy these forests and mountains, but their actions have shown that they care more about the profits of pipeline companies than about the health of Appalachia’s gorgeous ecosystems.

Another thank you to everyone who has hiked up over the last eleven days, and who has visited the sits at the top of the mountain! Please, please continue to come find us here. Come witness what it’s possible to do together, talk to each other and to the long term support crew on the ground, dream up ideas and plans and actions and grow emboldened to move forward with them. The presence of more people here also means that the Forest Service knows their actions are being carefully watched, and that many, many people care about whether they endanger my safety or harass me and and my friends.

  • Update from the monopod:

    Update from the monopod — US Forest Service has extended the closure of Pocahontas Rd to 125 ft from the road. They have measured out this distance and are forcing the camp of supporters (who had been at the base of the monopod) to move in the snow. This isolates the monopod sitter and prevents supporters from keeping a close eye on the Forest Service’s actions!

    EDIT 10:45PM: The group of supporters on the ground has now relocated and set up camp (in the dark and snow). From their new spot, they can still view the monopod and the Forest Service gate, but cannot see all of the monopod’s rigging lines. USFS personnel are monitoring both the pod and the support camp.

    During the move of the support camp, USFS told one supporter that if she stayed through dusk to help the camp move out of the closure zone, they (USFS) would give her a ride back to her vehicle at the end of Pocahontas Rd. However, after this supporter helped folks move and went to ask about a ride, USFS said they would not take her anywhere — nor would they allow her to safely walk down the vacant, closed road, back to her car. As a result, she and her daughter had to bushwhack through the woods in the dark and the snow back to their car.

    Needless to say, despite their claims, the Forest Service has made it clear that they are NOT concerned with anyone’s safety (except MVP) in this scenario.

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