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West Virginia

Staring Down The Barrel Of The Mountain Valley Pipeline

Communities along the ROW are frequently reminded they are collateral damage to MVP. Violations here range from the immediate danger of explosion to the discovery that some of the emergency numbers on the yellow and white poles along the route are wrong, to the lack of courtesy, such as heavy construction work immediately adjacent to a convening church on a Sunday morning. Despite the green-light for the MVP to go in service, on-the-ground work in these endangered communities continues to keep themselves aware and safe. Monroe County, WV is rural Appalachia. Few roads here are 2 lanes wide, and most are a single lane. Cars pass one another by both swerving off to their respective shoulders.

Around The Mountain Valley Pipeline, Farmers Losing Access To Clean Water

There are some who say the water of Monroe County, West Virginia, is the purest and best-tasting in the world — or at least it was in the 1990s. The springs on Peters Mountain, which straddles the border with Virginia, won first prize at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting four times in that decade, beating out — as farmer Maury Johnson will tell you — the renowned municipal water of New York City. Johnson’s family has owned over 200 acres of farmland in Monroe County for 130 years, in the verdant Hans Creek Valley. Coming around the bend of a two-lane road into the valley, you behold a patchwork of dandelion-dotted pastures where small farmers raise sheep, cattle, pigs, and even a paddock of wide-eyed, statue-still deer. Underneath that farmland is a geological formation called karst, which is found throughout the greater Appalachian region.

Mine Water Is Spewing Into This West Virginia Community

Wolf Pen, W.Va.—Trees line Tina Christian’s driveway, and the rolling mountains of southern West Virginia rise around her yard. Her grandchildren play in the peaceful creek that twists through the woods behind her trailer. Or, at least, they did — until a geyser of dirty mine water shot out of an abandoned gas well behind the home in February 2023. It flooded the yard for weeks. Now, Tina and her husband, Jamie, are afraid to have their grandchildren visit at all. “I’d hate for them to come down here and visit and spend the night, and ten years down the road, they find out they’ve got cancer from playing at momaw and popaw’s house,” Tina Christian says.

Pipeline Protester Locks Herself To Excavator On Peters Mountain

Lindside, WV - Early Saturday morning, a pipeline fighter using the name Vole locked herself to an excavator on the West Virginia side of Peters Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest, preventing Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from finishing construction on both sides of the mountain, next to the Appalachian Trail. Banners at the site of the action read, "DESTROY ALL PIPELINES" and "LAND BACK," and a rally of supporters gathered nearby in the National Forest. After blockading pipeline work for 5 hours, Vole was extracted from her blockade and escorted off the mountain by law enforcement.

UAW Wins Organizing Election At Volkswagen Tennessee Plant

United Auto Workers achieved a historic organizing victory Friday night at a Volkswagen AG plant in Tennessee plant as workers voted overwhelmingly to join the union following a three-day election. The vote count was 2,628-985, according to unofficial results released by the automaker, the union and a National Labor Relations Board tally posted on X. "Volkswagen Chattanooga workers voted in favor of union representation in their workplace this week," the automaker said in a statement. "The vote was administered through a democratic, secret ballot vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. ... We will await certification of the results by the NLRB. Volkswagen thanks its Chattanooga workers for voting in this election."

Palestinians, Supporters Demand City Council Call For Cease-Fire

Charleston, West Virginia - Over 200 Palestinian and pro-Palestine activists packed a City Council meeting in Charleston, West Virginia’s capital, on Jan. 3. The crowd attended the meeting in anticipation of a vote regarding a cease-fire resolution previously proposed by progressive City Councilmember Joe Solomon, with the support of Palestinian constituents. Solomon, the only Jewish member of the 26-member City Council, is an outspoken opponent of the ongoing genocide in occupied Palestine. The purpose of the resolution was to pressure the U.S. Congress to stop funding the continuous murder of Palestinian people.

Pipeline Fighter Grandfather Arrested After Blocking Drilling At Elk Crossing

Webster County, WV — Early Friday morning 11/3/23, pipeline fighter Jerome locked himself to a Mountain Valley Pipeline drill at the Elk River crossing in Webster County, WV. Jerome prevented construction for over 3 hours, at which time he was extracted by law enforcement and arrested. He was charged with 4 misdemeanors, and has been released from jail. A banner at the site of Jerome's blockade read "Doom to the pipeline!" "I am the father of 3 daughters and the grandfather—soon—of 5 grandsons," Jerome stated. "I am horrified by what climate change is already doing to all life here on Earth. And I'm even more horrified that we still envision and construct projects like MVP which will only worsen the warming and deepen the chaos.

Plan To Clean Up Radioactive Fracking Waste Ends In Monster Lawsuit

In rural West Virginia, largely hidden among steep hills, stands a $255 million facility designed to transform fracking waste into freshwater and food grade quality salts. Proponents hailed it as one of the most important environmental projects undertaken by the oil and gas industry in recent U.S. history. But local conservation groups and residents remained skeptical from the start, warning that the plant could leak toxic waste into water and air, harming human health and ecosystems in a largely forested region where tight-knit communities live close to the land.  The facility, called Clearwater, was built by the Denver, Colorado-based oil and gas extraction company, Antero Resources, and an affiliate of Veolia, the multinational French waste, water and energy management company.

Students Of The Strikes

On Monday, August 21, hundreds of students at West Virginia University, the state’s flagship land-grant institution, walked out of their classrooms to protest the massive gutting of their university by its administration. Students wore red T-shirts and red bandanas around their necks, carried homemade signs with messages like “Stop the Gee-llotine” (a reference to WVU President E. Gordon Gee), played protest songs on fiddles and guitars, chanted “STOP THE CUTS!” and shouted impassioned speeches into megaphones. At issue was the administration’s proposal to fire 16 percent of the faculty and cut 9 percent of its undergraduate majors and twenty graduate programs in response to a projected $45 million shortfall over the next two years.

‘Rocking Chair Rebellion’ Blocks Mountain Valley Pipieline Access

Summers County, WV — Six pipeline fighters took action and put their bodies on the line today at Mountain Valley Pipeline's construction site at the Greenbrier River crossing. They made it clear they will not stand down while the world faces the imminent threat of environmental catastrophe. Four were part of the self-proclaimed "Rocking Chair Rebellion," a contingent of elder protesters in rocking chairs blocking an MVP access road, with their legs locked into concrete barrels. Two more locked themselves to the drill that MVP will use to drill under the river. Nearby, a rally of over a dozen people gathered to show support for the protest.

West Virginia Hearing: Don’t Cut Corners With Miners’ Safety

West Virginia - At 9:00 A.M. sharp on August 10, a small phalanx of smiling, well-coiffed elderly women began herding a crowd of several dozen people into the auditorium of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, West Virginia. Among the crowd were former coal miners and their spouses, lawyers, pulmonologists, black lung clinic staff, environmental activists, local media, union representatives, and concerned citizens — all there to attend a public hearing for a new proposed rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) that seeks to limit silica exposure in the nation’s coal mines to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, down from 100.

Students Push Back Against Planned Program And Faculty Cuts

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia University students staged a walkout Monday to protest the proposed elimination of academic programs and show support for faculty and staff whose jobs are being targeted as the university addresses a $45 million budget shortfall. Separate midday rallies were organized by the West Virginia United Students' Union, which encouraged protesters to wear red. Organizers said they want to halt the university's planned reductions, seek an independent audit of its finances and reduced WVU's administrative spending.

West Virginia Rally Condemns Jail Deaths

Beckley, West Virginia - Nearly 100 prison abolitionists and family members of jailhouse murder victims rallied in Beckley on July 15 to raise awareness of the growing number of deaths in jails throughout West Virginia. In the last couple of years, the deaths have become epidemic, with dozens of incarcerated workers murdered at the hands of guards throughout the state. Appropriately dubbed “Handcuffs Shouldn’t Kill You,” the event was organized by the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign and co-sponsored by the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union and the Beckley chapter of the NAACP. Community and union activists from the area attended.

Silent No More

Under a sky spitting freezing rain with a cold whipping wind, Kimberly Burks, the mother of Quantez Burks, helped assemble the 150 marchers and stepped us off from the home of Quantez Burks at noon. We marched through the neighborhood and out to well-travelled thoroughfares and around the Beckley Police Station. We then lined a block of the main street through town holding and waving signs, some folks crying, others remembered the two men and the shock of their deaths. Josh Eagle, a friend of Burks, held a sign that read: “What if Quan was your son? Brother? Father? Husband? Friend? Uncle? We want answers. We demand justice.”

Indigenous Leaders And Climate Groups Respond To West Virginia vs. EPA

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a rule that limits the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses from the power sector using a specific provision of the Clean Air Act. Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that existing and planned fossil fuel projects are more than the climate can handle, confirming that without sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use, we are, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says, “on a fast track to climate disaster.” The report also warns investors of stranded fossil fuel assets that will amount to $4 trillion in a world where warming is limited to 2°C, and even more in a world where it is limited to 1.5°C.
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