Mountain Valley Pipeline tension rises

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Yellow tape and workers with nothing to do surround the makeshift treehouse of a 61-year-old protester called Red.

She and her supporters continue to fight against the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline. 

"These county policemen here, I pay taxes and I am paying for them to stand around here and protect these guys cutting trees. That's not right,” said protester Carl Bagby.

Just a couple of feet below Red, Mountain Valley Pipeline crews began to cut smaller branches while protesters stood in their campout, in disbelief.

Local farmer and wetland scientist David Treble said the greatest concern is that could contaminate groundwater since everyone on the mountain relies on well water. 

“When you have this pipeline coming through, it actually is parallel to this creek. Anytime you have rain, the pipeline is coated in this really nasty material to prevent it from corroding and it will leech that material into the groundwater and right into the creek,” Treble said.

Tensions began to rise as the crews moved closer to Red. Protesters were forced to move from their sit-in for safety reasons and were advised to stay at least 160 feet away from the cutting.

“And we were doing that and maintained the distance they told us and then they started cutting in our proximity,” said protester Jenny Chapman.

Residents were able to compromise and get closer than officers first told them, but were given another blow when Roanoke County officers informed them they would be at the site around the -clock, all night. 

Chapman said she has one thing to say to Mountain Valley Pipeline. 

“Shame, shame, shame,” she chanted.

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