Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters lock themselves to drilling equipment

Police arrest three Monday in West Virginia

MONROE COUNTY, W. Va. – Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline tried a new tactic Monday: chaining themselves to construction equipment.

West Virginia state police arrested three people who were trying to slow down workers in Lindside, a community in Monroe County, West Virginia. They delayed construction for a few hours on Route 219.

Police cut them out around 10 a.m., about two hours after they received a call. Police said Maxwell Shaw, 24, Evin Ugur, 21, and Sydney White, 18, are all from Massachusetts and are out on bond. 

Court documents showed they're each facing three misdemeanors, one each for trespassing, obstructing and resisting arrest. That could mean up to two and a half years in jail.

Witnesses say about 25 other pipeline opponents came out to watch. One of them was Jammie Hale, who lives in Giles County.

“Very humbling. You see somebody willing to put their life and limb in jeopardy to save my farm, my land, my community. Oh yeah, it’s very humbling,” he said.

He described a tense atmosphere. Witnesses said police threatened to use tasers, pepper spray and batons. 

“There’s people going every which way and then police, law enforcement pulling in and you don’t know what to expect or exactly what’s going to happen,” he said.

He’s encouraged by the efforts.

“Nowadays people are scared to stand up and take a stand and to see especially some young people,” he said.

This comes just three days after the last sitter in Virginia came down from a spot blocking construction in Giles County.

“I hope a lot of people get involved and say ‘I’m going to stick up for my neighbor, for their rights, for our constitutional rights,’” Hale said.

As of Monday night, there are no reports of any protesters blocking MVP construction workers. At least 10 people have placed themselves in the pipeline’s path against the company’s request.

An MVP spokeswoman did not return our request for a comment.

Construction continues on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is projected to run from West Virginia into North Carolina, crossing through Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties in Virginia.