Attorney says 2 tree-sitters are exempt from eminent domain

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - An attorney says Mountain Valley Pipeline can't invoke eminent domain to remove two tree-sitters protesting on land where they have no legal ownership interest.

The Roanoke Times reports the argument was presented Wednesday in a court filing by attorney John Fishwick on behalf of supporters of the Virginia tree-sitters, who have avoided court. He asked Judge Elizabeth Dillon to deny Mountain Valley's request for a preliminary injunction the company says it needs to evict the tree-sitters.

Fishwick says Mountain Valley erred by including the tree-sitters in cases in which eminent domain allowed the removal of protesters with property interests in the land.

Mountain Valley's 300-mile (483-kilometer) natural gas pipeline is being constructed in West Virginia and Virginia. The company has seven days to respond.

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