Two tree sitters join fight against Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. - Now that Mountain Valley Pipeline workers are back at work, so are pipeline protestors. 

On Wednesday, two new tree sitters suspended 50 feet in the air and are protesting against Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County.

One of them is 24-year-old Virginia Tech grad Lauren Bowman, whose goal is to delay MVP's work.

"This is private property and it doesn't belong to Mountain Valley Pipeline. So, I am not breaking any laws," said Bowman.

Bowman and her fellow protester, Nettle, are asking Gov. Ralph Northam to revoke water permits for this project in hopes of protecting creeks like this one. 

"No amount of money is worth the lives and people of this community and that we are not backing down," Bowman said. 

The rest of the camp tells 10 News they plan to stay here for as long they can. 

"This water goes through the Spring Hollow Reservoir, which goes through to both Salem and Roanoke and that's a big deal. And I feel like people just aren't paying attention," said Connie Fitzsimmons, a pipeline protester.

According to Fitzsimmons, she and the others are here to protect the water for future generations and want to send this message to the community.

“There isn't any compromise when it comes to people lives and we are going to be paying for this pipeline for years to come,” said Bowman. 

MVP spokeswoman Natalie Cox said in a statement regarding the new protestors and said they remain dedicated on the safe construction of the pipeline. 

“These unlawful blockades along the MVP route are creating unnecessary safety risks for everyone involved, including law enforcement, security personnel, project workers and opponents themselves. While we continue to respect the opinions of those opposed to important infrastructure projects, the actions of these opponents are spending taxpayers’ money by forcing public agencies to incur significant expenses in order to maintain safety and uphold the law,” she said. 

 

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