Activists aiming to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby say they fear being removed against their will after crews put up fencing and cut down trees in their vicinity on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more than a year, protesters have been occupying treetops in the Brunette River Conservation Area, which sits on the path of the planned expansion to the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline. They say recent moves from Trans Mountain leave them worried their treetop vigil might be coming to an end. "They're sending a lot of workers on the ground to fence off these trees and to have them very isolated from our supporters that bring us food and bring in supplies every day," said Timothée Govare, who has spent more than 100 days in the tree houses as part of the protest.
The last week in July saw record-breaking temperatures across the globe. The forecast map for Europe appeared as a giant oppressive red mass with barely any orange or yellow nuance. Not built to withstand temperatures in the triple digits fahrenheit, cities such as Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, and elsewhere boiled beneath an unrelenting summer sun. Here in the US, cities across the country sent out advisories telling residents to stay inside with air conditioning on. And while three-quarters of homes in the US have air conditioning, high-risk, low-income communities sometimes don’t, and even if they do, they don’t always have access to it. For instance, a mere few days after Mayor de Blasio signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to extreme temperatures, nearly 50,000 Con Edison customers had their power cut.
ELLISTON — The 212th day was a lot like the first, which for foes of the Mountain Valley Pipeline was a good thing. Since Sept. 5, 2018, two people have occupied tree stands in a white pine and a chestnut oak, perched about 50 feet off the ground while supporters camped on the ground sent up food and water in plastic buckets and kept watch over the peaceful protest. On Thursday, they celebrated another day of blocking tree-cutting for the controversial natural gas pipeline, which is destined to run across this wooded slope in eastern Montgomery County on its way from northern West Virginia to Chatham.
For almost five months, Phillip Flagg has been living in a chestnut oak tree 50 feet above the ground. His home is a four-by-eight sheet of plywood, a little larger than a typical dining room table, that is lashed to the oak’s boughs. Since going aloft on October 12, he has not set foot on the ground. Below him there’s small group of about a dozen scrupulously anonymous young people who take care of Flagg’s basic human needs. They’re all here to halt the construction of a natural gas pipeline in rural Elliston, in the Virginia highlands near Roanoke. For many of them, organizing, staffing, and supporting long-term eco-protests like this is as a way of life.
Way out in the Appalachian hills, on the line between Virginia and West Virginia, after an hour-long backwoods hike up Peters Mountain, an orderly clutch of tents were surrounded by a plastic yellow ribbon that read, “police line do not cross”. Past that, a woman sat on top of a 50 ft pole. Opposite the knot of tents where the woman’s supporters kept 24-hour vigil lay an encampment of police, pipeline workers, and private security bearing floodlights, generators and hard, binocular-bespectacled stares.
Giles County, VA — Early Monday morning, pipeline protesters in the Jefferson National Forest erected a new aerial blockade on Pocahontas Road near Narrows, VA. The blockade consists of a protester on a platform 30 feet in the air, suspended from a horizontal rope tied to surrounding trees. Banners at the site read "WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?" and "STILL HERE." Pocahontas Road is a Forest Service road and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) access road that leads to the construction site for MVP's intended boring through Peter's Mountain, under the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The Environmental Justice Committee of the National Lawyers Guild stated it condemns the actions of the United States Forest Service in denying basic necessities to a Virginia protester in violation of international law and 18 USC §2340(2)(b). The protester, a pod-sitter, with the forest name of “Nutty,” has sat in a pod since March 28, 2018, on a 50-foot pole in the Giles county section of Jefferson National Forest challenging the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The 50-foot pole is attached by guy wires to a gate on a road. MVP, having already started the construction of a 300-mile pipeline scheduled to carry fracked liquid natural gas, has commenced tree-cutting in the county in preparation for pipeline construction. The US Forest Service has closed off areas near Nutty and her pod, denying access to water protectors who support her, but more importantly, denying her food and water and subjecting her to smoke, bright lights and noise in an attempt to force her down from her perch atop of the pod.
Franklin County, VA - In the farmlands of Franklin County, a new stand against the Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun. Three tree sits loom directly in the path of the pipeline’s destruction, making it impossible to clear the way without severely injuring the inhabitants of those trees. The sits tower over 75 feet off the ground of a small family farm’s livestock pasture, overlooking Little and Teel creeks, home to the endangered Roanoke Log Perch. The tree sits build upon two other blockades to construction- a stand one hundred miles West, on Peters Mountain, and twenty miles West, in Bent Mountain, VA.
Peter's Mountain — She didn’t want to state her name, the woman who was sitting near the top of a 50-foot pole planted in the middle of a gravel road. She did state her purpose: “I hope to make it a lot harder for MVP to do any work on this road,” she said, speaking from inside a tarp that covered a wooden platform attached to the pole. Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline erected their latest roadblock to the company’s plans to build a natural gas pipeline through the Jefferson National Forest on Wednesday. It was the 30th day that fellow protesters have been sitting in two trees along the pipeline’s proposed route...
Peters Mountain, WV - Tree sitters with Appalachians Against Pipelines are now in the second week of their action to stop tree cutting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline on the border of Virginia and West Virginia. The pipeline company has to complete the tree cutting by March 31, 2018 or violate federal wildlife protections for bats. The tree sitters need your support.
By Mark Scialla for PBS. Last spring, Elise Gerhart and her mother Ellen heard chainsaw motors revving in the woods behind their southern Pennsylvania home. Pipeline workers had returned to finish clear-cutting a patch of the Gerhart’s 27-acre forest. The two women, joined by other activists, raced into the woods, and Elise climbed 40-feet high into a 100-year-old white pine. Cutting that tree would have brought her down with it. The workers were forced to stop. A year later, only three of the hundreds of trees remain in a three-acre clearing of stumps and logs. Forts suspended from the branches of these trees block new work in the woods. It was last year that the Gerharts first put out a call for help to stop a natural gas liquids project planned to pass under a wetland and forest on their property in Huntingdon County. The Gerhart’s land, now known by activists as Camp White Pine, has since become another front in the handful of pipeline battles occurring across the continent, many of which were inspired by the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline last year.
By Susan Phillios for State Impact-NPR. Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania residents protesting the construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline across their land now face arrest on their own property due to a rarely imposed court order known as a “writ of possession.” Common Pleas Court judge George Zanic signed the order last week, which Sunoco had sought as an “emergency measure” in response to the landowners tree-sitting on their property. Ellen and Stephen Gerhart in Huntingdon, Pa., along with their daughter Elyse, have become outspoken critics of the pipeline and the use of eminent domain by the company to take possession of land along the 350 mile route. Elyse Gerhart says the tree-sitting began in early February, after Sunoco secured the permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to begin construction. She would not say how many people were participating in the protest, but said she herself had been up in the trees. Although the Gerharts’ challenge to the eminent domain takings are making their way through the appeals courts, the company can begin building. Recent efforts to seek a stay in construction failed. “We’re seriously looking at going to jail,” said Elyse Gerhart.