Lockdown halts Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site for 8 hours or more

Video of the protest, lockdown, and difficult, time-consuming extraction by a specialized police team 2 min 47 sec

On the 9th of August, activists opposing fracked gas pipelines and eminent domain for corporate profit locked themselves to construction equipment at a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site near I-81. The lockdown held for 8 hours, probably ending the working day on the pipeline

A total of 10 protesters locked down, backed by nearly 100 more protesters on the site. While cops didn't have too much trouble marching the support team to the other side of the road, it took over 4 hours for the trailer with specialized equipment to defeat the lockboxes just to arrive.At Noon, 8 of the 10 locked-in protesters were still in place,and the whole morning's construction work had been halted. The sideboom is a specialized piece of equipment used for handling and laying pipe, and appears to be based on a large bulldozer chassis.

It has been reported that two incidents of police announcing that protesters must move cars from parking lots or they would be towed had their origin in police harassing the owners of those parking lots. The sheriff's Department even went so far as to deny customers entrance to the Dollar General store and ordering customers out.

It took a second attempt at extraction to remove the protesters locked to the sideboom after the first attempt failed. A lockdown that began at 6:30AM continued until 2:30PM, with cleanup and any "evidence collection" preventing any return to a normal workday still longer. This was reported to have been the largest protest to date against the MVP.

The MVP or Mountain Valley Pipeline was supposed to be online delivering fracked gas into another existing gas pipeline, destroying thousands of acres of mountain forests to make fracked gas even cheaper. Instead, protests like this one, a 900+ day treesit, and so many more plus legal challenges have held this project up year after year. Every year, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC promises to have the pipeline in use by the following year, and every year they again fail to deliver on this.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC is basically a front for EQM Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra Capital Holdings, Inc.; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC. (source: https://www.mountainvalleypipeline.info/ )

The tough lockdown to a sideboom(similar chassis as a dozer) as seen from the street

Position of the sideboom lockdown on the pipeline route here

Appalachians Against Pipelines photo of the sideboom lockdown

Appalachians Against Pipelines photo of one of the other blockades on the same site. This one was not visible from the road

Some of the estimated 80 protesters who were ordered off the site marched over to support the blockades from the street

Sideboom lockdown under siege during initial attempts at extraction. First attempt the cops had to back off, realizing their equipment could not handle it

A tough, difficult extraction from the sideboom. A saw could be heard running, it appeared to require one of the vehicles as a power source but that is unconfirmed. Other tools may have been used and the saw blade appeared to require water cooling

Antifascist banner at the MVP site

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