Governor Ralph Northam says opponents of two natural gas pipelines should let the Department of Environmental Quality do its job.
Some opponents have been camped on tree-top platforms, hoping to prevent construction crews from working on properties in the Roanoke area and New River Valley.
Speaking to reporters in Roanoke, Northam said officials are working with law enforcement, environmental groups and others to come to a resolution with the protesters.
"Some of them are there unlawfully and I regret that," Northam said Tuesday, "but at the end of the day, especially as a physician, I want them to be safe."
Northam said he’s made it clear he wants the protesters’ health and nutritional needs taken care of while the standoff continues.
Roanoke County authorities began providing food to two protesters on Bent Mountain last weekend after the protesters said their supplies had run out. Law enforcement agencies have been preventing support groups from delivering supplies to those protesters and other protesters in Giles County.
The company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline has asked a federal judge to order U. S. Marshals to remove the protesters.