Campaigners block access to the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement

Campaigners block access to the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement in Roanoke County, Virginia on May 16, 2024.

(Photo: Appalachians Against Pipelines)

'Which Side Are You On?' Mountain Valley Pipeline Foes Block Road to Fracking Project

"I see no choice but to rebel against these systems in any small way I can," said a campaigner. "To choose to fight on the side of the mountains, the rivers, the critters, and the people. Against the extraction, empires, and all death-making institutions."

Decrying both the environmental harms and the U.S. fossil fuel industry's support of Israel's assault on Palestinian rights, a pipeline opponent on Thursday morning locked themself to two barrels in the middle of a road on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County, Virginia, blocking access to the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement.

The campaigner, who was supported by other demonstrators in the road, was identified by Appalachians Against Pipelines as Mullein. The protest took place close to where environmental protectors spent more than two and a half years holding the Yellow Finch Tree Sit protest, stopping the destruction of the last remaining trees in the MVP's path.

Mullein said they were driven to block the road by "the interlocking systems of colonization and capitalism," in light of Israel's U.S.-backed assault on Gaza, for which MVP would provide support.

"Today, as I sit in the road on so-called Poor Mountain, it is the day after Nakba Day," said Mullein, referring to the anniversary of more than 700,000 Palestinians' forced displacement when Israel declared statehood. "Today, through this ongoing genocide, Palestinians have been resisting colonization for over 76 years. MVP claims that this pipeline would supply fracked gas to various U.S. military locations including the Pentagon and the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, which is operated by BAE systems, a weapons company supplying weapons to 'Israel' during their genocidal campaign."

"The destruction of land and lifeways is interconnected, from Turtle Island to Palestine," said Mullein, using the Indigenous name for North America. "As a settler here, these systems have disconnected me from land, from others, from myself.

Appalachians Against Pipelines reported that the blockade went on for seven hours. Mullein was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors, with their bail set at $2,000.

The protest comes a week ahead of a deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant MVP permission to place the pipeline in service, despite a recent citation by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for over a dozen violations. The fracked gas pipeline would stretch across at least 300 miles of the Appalachian region, and has been opposed by local and national environmental justice groups.

"I'm sitting locked to two barrels today because I see no choice but to rebel against these systems in any small way I can," said Mullein. "To choose to fight on the side of the mountains, the rivers, the critters, and the people. Against the extraction, empires, and all death-making institutions. Which side are you on?"

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