Second, final Mountain Valley Pipeline tree-sitter arrested in Montgomery County

Man was not hurt in the process, authorities say

Alexander Lowe (Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)

3:48 p.m. Wednesday update

Authorities arrested the second and final tree-sitter from a Montgomery County tree on Wednesday.

24-year-old Alexander Lowe, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was charged with obstruction of justice and interfering with the property rights of another.

He is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail with no bond.


12:55 p.m. Wednesday update

Authorities have removed the second and final tree-sitter from a Montgomery County tree on Wednesday.

The Virginia State Police extraction team continued work from a crane suspended basket to remove him safely from both the sleeping dragon device and the tree.

He was then lowered to the ground in the basket, checked by medics and received no injuries during the extraction, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities are now taking him before the magistrate to be charged.


10:12 p.m update

Authorities announced the arrest of a 23-year-old Vermont woman they removed from a Montgomery County tree on Tuesday.

Claire Marian Fiocco, of Dorset, Vermont, faces a charge of interfering with the property rights of another and is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bail.

Crews ceased working at sunset and have secured the worksite, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and Christiansburg Police Department will continue to be on scene throughout the night in order to maintain the worksite and surrounding areas.

Negotiations with the remaining tree-sitter will continue Wednesday morning.


6:41p.m. update

Crews have successfully extracted the first of the two remaining tree-sitters, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

A Virginia State Police extraction team worked from a crane suspended basket to remove the woman from both the “sleeping dragon” device and the tree.

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs says that most of these devices are created by using a piece of pipe. Protesters chain themselves to a bolt inside the pipe and are the only ones who can unhook the chain.The pipes are sometimes wrapped with materials such as duct tape, wire and roofing tar to make removal difficult and delay the removal process.

The woman was then lowered to the ground in the basket and checked by medics.

She received no injuries during the extraction and will be taken before the magistrate.

Crews will remain on-site overnight and continue negotiations with one remaining tree-sitter


4:05 p.m. update

The plan to remove two tree-sitters protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County remains on schedule, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews spent Tuesday morning providing access for and setting a crane to assist with removing two people from the trees.

While the crane is now in place, negotiations continue with the two as the Sheriff’s Office said it hopes they will choose to come down on their own.

The area where they’re located is extremely steep and difficult to access, according to the Sheriff’s Office. And crews will continue to work slowly and steadily in order to maintain a safe environment for everyone.

While are has been closed for safety purposes, authorities have arranged site visits for Montgomery County Board of Supervisors member Sara Bohn and Commonwealth’s Attorney for Montgomery County Mary Pettit.

Bohn has acted as liaison for local protesters, while Pettit has been consulted regularly for legal guidance since the court order was issued, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Legal observers for the protesters have also been provided access to observe the work from a safe zone.

The Sheriff’s Office said that work will continue into Tuesday evening.


Authorities said they are extracting tree-sitters protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County in a multi-day operation.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police Device Extraction Team and officers with the Christiansburg Police Department are on scene for the operation.

Authorities said they hope the remaining tree-sitters will leave on their own, but said they are prepared to extract them if necessary.

Authorities have closed off the road leading to the area, but here is video from one of the tree-sitters:

MVP possible extraction attempt of Yellow Finch tree sits

MVP may be attempting an extraction of the Yellow Finch tree sits today (tree sit day 931/day 128 of sitters resisting an injunction) — lots of cops are at the sits and they are closing Cove Hollow Rd. The sheriff's office has said they are not allowing media access on this public road — CALL TO DEMAND THAT THEY ALLOW MEDIA 540 382 6915 #NoPipelines #NoMVP Donate to support ongoing resistance! http://bit.ly/SupportMVPResistance Join the fight! Email appalachiansagainstpipelines@protonmail.com

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Tuesday, March 23, 2021

According to the sheriff’s office, this is a result of the Montgomery County Circuit Court injunction from Nov. 12, 2020.

Access to Cove Hollow Road will be restricted to residents only starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday until the operation is over, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Protestors gathered down the street and told 10 News that they want to protect the environment and waterways.

They also said that they’re angry the public can’t watch what’s going on. They added that they’re worried the extraction process could become violent.

One protestor, Donald W. Jones, whose family owns farmland in Giles County that the pipeline will cut across, said that his dad, who passed away last month, protested the pipeline for years.

“Hopefully he’s up in heaven looking down and hopefully proud of me for still, still standing up for what’s right. Because he sure thought it was a fight worth fighting,” said Jones.

A Mountain Valley Pipeline spokesperson released a statement to 10 News that reads:

“We appreciate the work of local and state law enforcement personnel who are working to safely remove trespassers from private property today. We strongly condemn the illegal and dangerous behavior of the activists who put themselves, law enforcement authorities, project crew members and others at risk today and during the last several months.

These opponents had every opportunity to comply with the court’s order more than four months ago and to leave on their own. Instead, they chose to defy the law and continue trespassing and interfering with construction of a critical public infrastructure project. In doing so, they created unnecessary safety risks for everyone involved and are directly responsible for the use of taxpayer funds required to carry out the enforcement activity.

While we respect the opinions of those opposed to MVP, and to natural gas pipelines in general, there is no excuse for the unlawful actions taken by these activists.”

“With total project work roughly 92% complete, MVP continues to target a late 2021 in-service date.”