Mountain Valley Pipeline protester explains why she locked herself to construction equipment

WSLS10 speaks exclusively with Satterwhite after she was released from custody

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

MONTGOMERY Co., Va. - The protester who locked herself to a piece of construction equipment Thursday along the Mountain Valley Pipeline route in northern Montgomery County is out on bond.

Emily Satterwhite went before a magistrate Thursday night and she said she was charged with interfering with someone else's property, but not for resisting arrest or obstruction. She spoke exclusively with WSLS10 after being released from custody where she was greeted by family and close friends.

Virginia State Police used an angle grinder and smaller grinding tool to free Satterwhite from the lockbox she had wrapped around the hydraulic piston of an excavator, locking both of her arms inside. Police later learned based on the device's design, even if Satterwhite chose to come down on her own, she would have been unable to.

This protest was the latest in a number of protests for the entire pipeline project. Satterwhite is an associate professor at Virginia Tech in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She is the author of "Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity and Popular Fiction since 1878" and has won a number of awards for her Appalachian studies. She said pipeline fighters have exhausted all other resources, including phone calls, letters and petitions, and this was a last case resort. She and a number of her supporters on the ground considered it a success.

"It was an amazing day, so many of us have been trying so hard to hold the system accountable to say it's not working," Satterwhite said. "It's not what people want, it's not right, and it was amazing to be up there and have so many people take so much time to be there supporting the message that we wanted to send."

Satterwhite was in the blazing sun all day with no access to food or water. She said she is doing OK and that police treated her with professionalism. She was most looking forward to seeing her daughter when she got home.

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