GILES COUNTY, Va. – The latest protester to set up camp in the way of the Mountain Valley Pipeline said her love for the environment drove her to block construction. She said she has concerns over risks to wildlife and tree removal, among other effects.
Fern MacDougal, 30, is suspended above what pipeline workers are trying to use as a service road in Giles County for the second day. She sneaked into the area of the Jefferson National Forest early Monday morning and constructed her setup, stringing wires and solidifying a platform.
Workers would now have to cut her support wires, causing her to fall, if they want vehicles to pass through.
She’s from Massachusetts but has lived nearby in West Virginia. She said her inspiration is coming from protesters like “Nutty,” a woman in her 56th day of a tree-sit about three miles away.
MacDougal said she sees her efforts has a blockade.
“I don't really see this as a protest,” she told 10 News over the phone. “I see this as I'm stopping something more than I'm protesting.”
She was able to speak on the phone because she has a solar charger with her. She said she has plenty of food and water, and intends to stay up there as long as she can.
"I think more people have a sense of empowerment when they hear stories like this because they realize they have the tools to create social change,” she said.
She reported that Forest Service workers have been out to see her ropes and platform.
She has a tarp for when it rains and said she brought “a lot” of books.