WIRTZ, Va. – Protesters of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are upset with a Franklin County family for allowing pipeline workers to camp on their property.
The conflict has many complaining to Homestead Creamery, a popular local dairy and ice cream shop.
10 News found the campsite where workers and their families go when they're not on the clock. The controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline stirs up strong emotions on both sides and this outcry seemed to have worked.
The campsite sticks out like a sore thumb just off Wirtz Road - a convoy turned campsite- with those staying overnight offering up vulgar hand gestures for our camera. The RVs belong to pipeline workers and families, staying just up the road from a Mountain Valley Pipeline work site adjacent to U.S. 220. The vehicles all have out-of-state plates, and are hard-wired to power complete with septic setups. Very little about them looks temporary.
Community members took to social media with their disappointment after learning Wirtz local Brandon Montgomery owns the property under the business name 3M Farms, LLC. Montgomery released this statement in part Monday afternoon.
"We would like to sincerely apologize to our neighbors and all that have been negatively affected by our decision to allow RVs for Mountain Valley Pipeline workers on our property on Alean Road… We made a quick decision to allow this without looking deeper into the situation and it was bad judgment on our part." Montgomery said. "We are working today to let the RV Owners know they are no longer allowed to stay on our property. Our plan is to have them removed today, or as soon as physically possible."
Numerous people complained to Homestead Creamery, threatening to boycott the business. Homestead Creamery posted the 3M Farms, LLC statement on its website with the following commentary.
"Over the past few days, Homestead Creamery Inc. has listened to customers and citizens voicing their concerns about the presence of Mountain Valley Pipeline workers on land that was thought to be owned by our business." Homestead wrote. "Though the farm is not owned by Homestead Creamery, nor did we have a role in the decision to allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline workers to utilize it, we are committed to being good stewards of the land that drives agriculture in our region. Therefore, we have reached out to the farmer who owns the aforementioned land about our concerns for our customers and fellow citizens."
Details suggest however, that Homestead Creamery may not be that far removed from the situation. According to Homestead Creamery's website, Brandon Montgomery is the son of Homestead Creamery co-founder and Chairman of the Board Donnie Montgomery. 10 News also saw a Homestead Creamery delivery truck sitting on the property listed as the address for 3M Farms, LLC with the State Corporation Commission. Brandon Montgomery is also listed as one of the operators of Stoney Brook Dairy, a dairy farm listed first under the "Our Farms" section of Homestead Creamery's website.
10 News made numerous attempts to get in touch with Homestead Creamery and the Montgomery Family, which all were dead ends. As of our last check of the property around 7:30 p.m. Monday night, a few hours after the statement was released, there was no sign of anyone packing up to leave.