On November 13, a court gave tree-sitters protesting the Mountain Valley gas Pipeline, four days to end their action and come down. They have not. On Novermber 19th,the same judge found them in contempt of court with a fine of $500 a day, every day they remain.
In a statement, Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin, says he’s hoping the situation can be resolved quickly and safely. And that quote, “ the tree-sitters would choose to leave on their own to avoid unnecessary confrontations” adding, the court order will be enforced in due time.
The protesters have been living in trees near Yellow Finch Lane near Elliston, on private land earmarked by ‘eminent domain’ for completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
“And I respect that the court's right to do that, but I do think that the court is acting contrary to science,” sayss Alan Graf, a civil rights lawyer who teaches is a supporter of the protesters. “These aren't criminals. This is like ordering Rosa Parks off a bus. These are the people who would go down in history as folks who tried to save the planet from the destructive tendencies of the human race.”
The tree sitters have been in the forest for more than 2 years.
“This is the problem with the legal system as it stands. The law is on the wrong side,” says Emily Satterwite. Satterwite teaches Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech.
“It places MVP's "property rights" above all else, including the ecosystem, the climate, and rural people who oppose the federal theft of their self-determination. The judge's order jeopardizes the safety of the tree sitters and the safety of whatever person is charged with forcibly removing them. All the while, the media continue to repeat MVP's patent lie that more fracked gas is needed in the Southeast and MidAtlantic."
Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin said in a statement, that planning is underway to“… coordinate, to ensure we have all the necessary resources available, so the situation can be resolved quickly and in a safe manner for all parties involved."
Officials with the Mountain Valley Pipeline have said that the project is already more than 90% complete.
Most construction on the pipeline has been halted, pending a judge’s decision on crossing sensitive waterways.