Tree Setting Becoming a Symbol of Pipeline Resistance in WV & VA

by Duane Nichols on March 3, 2018

Defend our Forests, Farms and Karst Geology

Pipeline protesters are sitting in trees along its route in an effort to stop construction

From an Article by Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times, February 28, 2018

Chainsaw crews are cutting trees in Giles County, clearing a path for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. On a ridgetop high above them, protestors are waiting.

Since Monday, two self-described pipeline resisters have been sitting on platforms in two trees on Peters Mountain — about 60 feet off the ground and directly in the proposed path of the natural gas pipeline — with hopes of preventing the project from moving forward.

“We’re hoping to delay it, at least,” said Ashley Brown, speaking Wednesday by cellphone from one of the trees. “And I think we have the power to stop it.”

Brown is part of a loosely organized group of opponents who have taken a stand where the pipeline would cross the Appalachian Trail in Monroe County, West Virginia. The “tree sit” is being held just across the state line from Giles County, where Mountain Valley recently began cutting trees along a right of way for the 303-mile buried pipeline.

“It’s really beautiful up here,” Brown said. “Peters Mountain is stunning. The thought of a 125-foot right of way being blasted through this is really heartbreaking.”

The spot for a potential standoff with construction crews is on public land in the Jefferson National Forest.

“The Forest Service is reviewing the situation regarding the protesters and working to determine what our response might be to ensure everyone’s safety once Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC is authorized to begin tree clearing,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jessica Rubado wrote in an email.

Monroe County Sheriff Ken Hedrick said he has been in touch with Forest Service officials and is not aware of any need at this point for law enforcement to intervene.

It remains unclear when, or if, the tree cutters will encounter the protesters.

Before Mountain Valley can cut trees on national forestland where the protesters are staged, the company must receive approval from the Forest Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC has already given Mountain Valley permission to cut trees in certain parts of Giles and other counties in the Roanoke and New River valleys through which the pipeline would pass.

Natalie Cox, a Mountain Valley spokeswoman, said tree-cutting began in Giles last Friday, marking the first work on the pipeline in Virginia. Crews began felling trees several weeks ago in West Virginia, where the pipeline would originate before making its way to Pittsylvania County.

Although Cox did not respond to questions Wednesday about protesters, she addressed the topic in an email to The Roanoke Times last June.

“As a safety precaution, the MVP project team and their contractors will have security personnel available, in conjunction with law enforcement, to manage any potential protest-related activity that may occur onsite during construction,” Cox wrote at the time.

Pipeline resisters are making it clear that they have no plans to move out of the way.

Placing humans in trees would make it “impossible to cut the forest without threatening severe harm to those resisting,” a news release from the group stated.

Brown said she is willing to stay in her tree 24 hours a day for as long as it takes. Supporters are providing food and other supplies that are hoisted from the ground by ropes. She also receives a newly charged cellphone periodically to stay in touch with the outside world from a remote post that can only be reached by a long, uphill hike in the woods.

Members of the group were reluctant to talk about how many people are involved in the effort, or to discuss their strategies at length. A second person who, like Brown, is sitting on a platform in a tree did not want to be identified, she said.

Protesters say that at the least, they hope to slow down a tree-cutting operation that Mountain Valley is in a rush to complete.

Federal wildlife protections mandate that all trees known to be habitats for threatened bats must be felled by March 31, when the creatures begin to emerge from their hibernation caves.

If the trees are not down by then, Mountain Valley would have to wait until mid-November, when the bats hibernate again, before resuming work.

Company officials have said they are on schedule for construction to be completed by the end of this year, even though they still lack approval by Virginia state regulators of a sediment and erosion control plan. That plan would have to be in place before the next stage of work — removing the downed trees and grading the land — could begin.

In a news release and on the Facebook page of Appalachians Against Pipelines, which is not directly involved in the tree-sit operation, the pipeline resisters outlined the reasons for their opposition.

“The proposed pipeline would destroy water, mountains, forests and family farms throughout Virginia and West Virginia,” the news release stated.

Bill Hughes Photo — Clearcutting right-of-way for MVP in Wetzel County, WV

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Long March 6, 2018 at 12:31 am


Please be advised that the Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (‘MCP”) has filed a Verified Complaint, Motion and Supporting Memorandum in the Circuit Court of Monroe County, West Virginia, against Appalachians Against Pipelines, Ashley Brown, Lucas Connolly, a/k/a Luca Connolly, and John Does 1-5, seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction that directs defendants to immediately cease any interference or work to support such interference with MVP’s property rights, including, but not limited to, (1) MVP’s right to commence construction on the MVP project and, (2) MVP’s right to commence tree-clearing to meet a March 31, 2018 tree-clearing deadline. It is expected that the Court will schedule a Hearing with respect to the request for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in the near future. MVP will make every attempt to post a subsequent Notice relating to the hearing.

Dated: March 2, 2018

If you have any questions, please contact Scott Long, Hendrickson & Long, at (304) 346-5500.


Local Residents March 6, 2018 at 9:28 pm

Tree Cutting Jefferson Nat’l Forest – Craig Creek Rd.

They finished destroying the whole Right Of Way on Brush Mountain in the national forest. Next is Del Dwyer’s farm, and onto Bob Jones and Mt. Tabor.

[image: IMG_0004.jpg]

Devastating for Brush Mountain.

The apocalypse has begun.


Jake Johnson March 8, 2018 at 9:21 pm

Fossil Fuel Execs Very Annoyed #KeepItIntheGround Movement Crimping Their Ability to Pillage Planet

From Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, March 8, 2018

“There’s more opponents, and it’s more organized,” lamented Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean.

Pipeline executives are extremely upset that protests by environmentalists and Indigenous groups are disrupting their ability to plunder the planet at will, and they aired their discontent publicly on Thursday at the CERAWeek energy conference in Texas.

“And we’re just getting started.” —

Singling out the “Keep It in the Ground” movement—which calls for an “immediate halt” to all new fossil fuel development—as a particularly strong obstacle to their ambitious construction projects, pipeline CEOs complained that opposition to dirty energy has grown in “intensity” over the past several years, posing a serious threat to their companies’ bottomlines.

“There’s more opponents, and it’s more organized,” lamented Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline—which would carry tar sands 700 miles from Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia—is currently facing fierce resistance from Indigenous groups and local governments. At least 7,000 people are expected to participate in a march and rally against the pipeline in Vancouver on Saturday, the Seattle Times reports.

Other pipeline CEOs appearing at the CERAWeek conference echoed Kean’s concerns, highlighting the success of efforts by environmental activists to delay, disrupt, and cancel projects through non-violent civil disobedience, litigation, and other tactics.

Bitterly recounting how activists tried to drill a holes in his company’s pipelines, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren reportedly said: “Talk about someone that needs to be removed from the gene pool.”

Energy Transfer Partners is behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, which became fully operational in June of last year after many weeks of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies.

Legal challenges to the pipeline—which has already spilled several times—continue to mount.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Warren said he has “increased Energy Transfer’s presence on social media platforms” in an attempt to win over the public.

Responding to the executives’ complaints on Twitter,—one of the most prominent organizations in the movement against fossil fuels—wrote simply, “we’re just getting started.”

“Pipelines executives lamented Wednesday that since the rise of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement, projects were being delayed by a rising tide of protests.”

And we’re just getting started. #KeepItInTheGround #NoKXL. — 350 dot org (@350)


POWHR Coalition March 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Hello fine folk…

We are looking at the snow swirling outside in the wind and beyond to snow-covered Peters Mountain where the tree sitters sit bundled, protecting our forest lands.

Boggles my mind…

FYI: Hearing scheduled on MVP motion for preliminary injunction against PM tree-sitters, on Tuesday, March 13, at 1:00 pm. The Monroe County Courthouse is at 350 Main Street in Union, WV 24983.

The Courthouse is located at junction of US-219 and Rte 3 in the center of Union. The courtroom is upstairs to your right after entering the front of building. Screening does take place, but generally cellphones are allowed.

Laurie for POWHR

POWHR: A Coalition to Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights

See also:


Kirk Bowers March 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

Appalachian Trail Conservancy MVP documentary

If you have not seen this yet, there is is an excellent documentary about the Mountain Valley Pipeline on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) website.

Here is a link to the ATC MVP page, scroll down for their 4-part documentary.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy mountain-valley-pipeline:

– Kirk Bowers
Pipelines Program Coordinator, Virginia Chapter
106 George Rogers Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911
434.296.8673 (preferred)
424.249.1439 (m)


Mirijana March 9, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the hell that those of us living in Doddridge County have been living in for quite a few years.

Felled trees, ground prep for the pipe, pipe yards, transient workforce, road infrastructure damage, excessive large truck traffic, noise and light pollution, flat landers trying to drive on our hilly narrow roads, sedimentation in waterways, erosion, slips and the tranquil life you may have had will quickly disappear. This has been and continues to be the hell that we live in.

Stop the drilling of new gas wells, and you may be able to stop more pipelines from happening.

Travel with your cameras so that you can document the violations that I guarantee you will be seeing. Get familiar with the WV DEP.



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