I have met so many people through this fight,” says Nancy Bouldin of Monroe County, West Virginia. “If you look at any benefits of all this, it’s the people and the connections that have been made.” When Bouldin says, “all this,” she refers to the years-long battle communities across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina have waged against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its proposed Southgate extension. When Bouldin and fellow organizers Lynda Majors and Donna Pitt met for a discussion via Zoom in March of 2022, the MVP’s prospects seemed dim. Originally priced at $3.7 billion, the MVP’s costs have ballooned to over $6.2 billion, the project is over three years behind schedule and has faced millions of dollars in fines for violations of clean water protections. A number of recent legal setbacks
Mountain Valley Pipeline
Roughly eight years ago, Maury Johnson was tending to the work of maintaining his homestead and serving his community in a variety of ways. Then, a letter from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) arrived, telling him they’d like to survey his land. He agreed, so long as he could go along. It was during that process that Johnson went from a welcoming landowner to a relentless opponent of the MVP. The dangers it posed to life, land and liberty were more than Johnson could stand. So, individually, and through numerous community organizations committed to preserving the ecology of Monroe County and communities all along the MVP route, Johnson has been helping lead the charge against the MVP as a fierce friend of Mother Earth.
During a recent hearing about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) policy statements about fracked gas certificates, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, defended the MVP. Manchin claimed the pipeline is 95 percent completed, but opponents cite the company’s own reports, which indicate “final restoration of the pipeline right-of-way is now about 55% complete.” Moreover, two recent federal court rulings have thrown out key MVP permits, as three more federal agencies have been sent back to the drawing board after failing to analyze the MVP’s harmful impacts. The court ruled that the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management inadequately considered actual sedimentation and erosion impacts, prematurely authorized stream crossings, and failed to comply with a Forest Service rule.
Today, in a victory for environmental justice, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 to deny the air quality permit for the proposed Lambert Compressor Station. The station would have connected the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline to a proposed ‘Southgate’ extension into North Carolina. Had the permit been granted, nearby communities would be subjected to additional air emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter 2.5, and formaldehyde — substances known to contribute to respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer. The permit denial is a clear victory for communities working tirelessly to protect their health and homes from corporate polluters — and a major setback for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Lindside, WV — Early Tuesday morning, two Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters locked themselves to construction equipment at a construction site in Lindside, WV. A rally of nearly a dozen supporters gathered nearby. Banners at the site read, “PIPELINES STINK,” “SOLIDARITY WITH STOP LINE 3,” and “AIN’T SCARED.” As of 11 AM, one protester had been extracted and arrested after preventing construction at the site for over 5 hours. The other was in the process of being extracted by law enforcement. Those locked down stated, "A better world isn't just possible, it's necessary. As we write this, wildfires rage and major cities are recovering from unprecedented flooding. We're not running out of time to address global climate change, we're already out.
A new report finds that almost one-third of people living in the United States have been directly impacted by the climate crisis so far this year. This includes fires, floods and extreme heat. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the climate crisis is undoubtedly being caused by human behavior. We must stop emitting carbon now but pipelines for oil and gas are still being built across the country. Clearing the FOG speaks with Deborah Kushner of Appalachians Against Pipelines about her work to stop the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Deborah and two others shut down construction of the MVP in June. Their trial took place last week. She talks about pipeline resistance and how she found the courage to take action.
Though it’s been under construction for the past three years—and in discussion since 2014—the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has been somewhat easy to overlook. Easy, that is, for those who don’t live along its proposed route: West Virginia landowner Maury Johnson calls it the “ugly stepchild of pipelines” because, compared to high-profile pipeline fights like that against Keystone XL, for a long time only a small segment of Appalachian residents seemed to be talking about the 303-mile MVP. As Gillian Giannetti, an NRDC attorney who focuses on energy issues at the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), explains, MVP has likely received less national attention because it passes through a rural, low-income part of Virginia, through places even many Virginians themselves haven’t visited.
Lawn, WV — Early Friday morning, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to drill equipment at the site where the Mountain Valley Pipeline crosses under Interstate 64 in Greenbrier County, WV. Their action halted work at the site for 2.5 hours, until both people were extracted and arrested. A banner at the site read, "MVP Is Deadly; Doom To The Pipeline". Both protesters were arrested before 8:30 AM. One person was charged with 6 misdemeanors, with bail set at $7,500. The other was charged with 4 misdemeanors, with bail set at $5,000. Both were bailed out on Friday. "In the expansive timeline of industrial extraction, halting work for a single day might feel molecular, but today’s action is anything but isolated," stated one of the people locked to the drill.
Bent Mountain, VA - On Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 5:30 A.M., Deborah Kushner, Alan Moore, and Bridget Kelley locked themselves in and to a broken down vehicle on Honeysuckle Road, blocking Mountain Valley Pipeline’s access to the pipeline easement, a work yard, and 2 access roads. Written on the vehicle blockade are slogans including: “Old Hills & Old Folks Resist,” “Protect What You Love,” “McAuliffe’s Climate Catastrophe,” “Land Back,” and “Water Is Life.” Nearly 20 people rallied on site in support of today’s blockade. At 12:45 P.M., law enforcement issued a dispersal order for the rally of supporters. By 2:30 P.M., they began extracting the 3 folks locked to the blockade vehicle.
Bent Mountain, VA - The Mountain Valley Pipeline protest community came together Sunday at the Bent Mountain Center to thank and commend three women who are running and cycling alongside the MVP construction path. MVP protesters held a feast to celebrate the women who are running and cycling 415 miles from West Virginia to Virginia, paralleling the pipeline. “We’re all runners, so to be able to take something that we enjoy to be able to raise awareness to the issues that are happening, it’s important to us,” MVP protest runner Katie Thompson said. Sarah Hodder, Merecedes Walters and Thompson started their 10-day relay-style running and cycling journey April 24 and as of Sunday, May 2, have two days left.
On Wednesday, March 24th, 2021, the second and final tree sitter at the Yellow Finch blockade in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline was extracted and arrested. This follows the Tuesday arrest of another tree sitter, and marks the final day — day 932 — of the Yellow Finch blockade. After Tuesday’s extraction, police remained on site overnight, shining spotlights at the remaining tree sit. MVP began work again this morning around 7 a.m. By 8 a.m., a rally of local supporters had formed nearby. Around 10 a.m., the large crane that police had brought on site began moving towards the remaining tree sitter, and around 12 p.m. they were cut from the lockbox that they had used to lock themself to the tree, extracted, and arrested.
Elliston, VA - On Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021, police extracted one of two tree sitters at the Yellow Finch blockade in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. A large crane was used to reach the tree sit from Yellow Finch Lane and extract the sitter, who had locked themself to the tree. They were arrested, charged with trespassing, and are being held without bond (set by the Montgomery County magistrate). Today is day 931 of the Yellow Finch Tree sits. As of 9:00 p.m., the second tree sitter remains in their blockade.
It was a shock to the system. That’s how EQT President and CEO Toby Rice described the impact of the July cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Rice made the allusion during EQT’s third-quarter earnings call Thursday while reporting talks with four or five other unnamed companies to offload some or all of EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline capacity. Environmentalists hope Mountain Valley is headed for the same fate as Atlantic Coast and view the natural gas industry’s recent slide as evidence the market might be on their side.
Another natural gas pipeline in North Carolina has been derailed, at least temporarily, as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has denied a water quality permit for the MVP Southgate project that would route through Rockingham and Alamance counties. In a letter released this afternoon, Division of Water Resources Director Danny Smith wrote, “Due to uncertainty surrounding the completion of the MVP Mainline project,” it has determined that “work on the Southgate extension could lead to unnecessary water quality impacts and disturbance of the environment in North Carolina.”
Virginia - Already slowed by the loss of two permits and a lawsuit that challenges a third one, construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline hit another major roadblock Friday. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a stay to a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pending its review of lawsuit brought by environmental groups headed by the Sierra Club. Following the late afternoon stay, the club said it “effectively means construction must stop” on the 303-mile pipeline. Mountain Valley suspended new construction on some stretches of the pipeline in August, three days after the lawsuit claimed that an approval from the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to adequately protect endangered species in the project’s path. Attorneys for the Sierra Club, which filed the challenge on behalf of seven groups, argued that the voluntary suspension did not go far enough.