Pipeline protest continues in Montgomery County after 'chaotic' week

A tree sitter protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in July 2019 | Credit: WDBJ
A tree sitter protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in July 2019 | Credit: WDBJ(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 23, 2019 at 5:24 PM EDT
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It was quiet along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline on Monday in Montgomery County, which was a sharp contrast to last week, which included conflict between protesters and police.

Tree sitters are still in place near Elliston, 321 days after pipeline opponents established a camp there, but they say recent activity in the area has been chaotic as construction crews moved closer and Virginia State Police made arrests.

On Friday, an excavator overturned on a steep slope, and a large stump rolled down the hill into an area where pipeline opponents had gathered.

"It just tells me that they're reckless," said one of the tree sitters WDBJ spoke with Monday afternoon. "And I already knew that."

During their visit, reporters also heard concern for the three pipeline opponents who were arrested on Saturday, and who were still in jail on Monday morning.

"The easement line was unmarked," another person said. "They weren't given a warning. And I personally believe they were not trespassing on the easement."

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline released the following statement Monday afternoon

"As we have consistently stated, we value the safety of our employees, contractors, those who are opposed to the project, and every single person that lives in these communities."

"We respect the opinions of those who are opposed to the MVP project and we appreciate the help and support of local law enforcement as we work to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the various phases of the construction process."