Tree sitters continue to block pipeline right-of-way, despite injunction ordering them to leave

MVP Tree Sitters
MVP Tree Sitters
Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 8:47 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Tree sitters continued to block the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline In Montgomery County Monday, despite an injunction ordering them to leave.

High above the hillside, three platforms swayed in the wind. Visitors could see at least one of them was occupied.

On the ground, a makeshift barricade blocked the path to the tree sitters.

And legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild watched for any activity.

“We are here as a third party witness,” said one of the observers, “objectively working under an attorney just to document and observe how things go.”

At the same time a group of pipeline opponents gathered along US 460 in a show of solidarity with the tree sitters.

“The longer the sits hold out, and preserve that slope,” Amy Nelson told WDBJ7, “you know every day is a blessing as far as I’m concerned.”

“I don’t agree with the judge’s ruling,” said another opponent identified as Molly, “but I’m out here to support the people who are still putting their lives on the line.”

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline said safety is a primary concern, with a few opponents creating what she described as unnecessary risks for law enforcement, security personnel, project workers and opponents themselves. “We expect opponents to adhere to the law and vacate their positions along the right-of-way,” Natalie Cox wrote.

By late afternoon, some equipment had arrived, and representatives of MVP and the sheriff’s office had reportedly made at least one pass through the area, but there was no effort to remove the tree sitters.

So for now, the tree sitters, other pipeline opponents and the legal observers are playing a waiting game on Yellow Finch Lane.

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