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MVP Protester “Living on Energy Bars and Rainwater”

Folks who want to resupply a protester blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline say the Forest Service is keeping them 125 feet from the tall pole she occupies. (Appalachians Against Pipelines)
Folks who want to resupply a protester blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline say the Forest Service is keeping them 125 feet from the tall pole she occupies. (Appalachians Against Pipelines)
May 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – After a month-and-a-half of pole-sitting on Peter's Mountain, a protester blocking progress of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is living on energy bars, packets of applesauce and rainwater - but has no plans to leave.

The pole was erected in the middle of the sole access road. As long it's there, developers' heavy equipment can't reach the pipeline site.

At the protesters' base camp, supporter Elliot Williams said for the last five weeks, the U.S. Forest Service has also blocked them from using the trail or otherwise resupplying the protester.

"It's one meal a day right now. She's limited herself down when she realized that she wasn't going to get any more food," Williams explained. "And right now, it's raining. She's collecting water in a bucket. A few weeks ago, when it rained really hard, she collected seven gallons of water."

The Mountain Valley Pipeline partnership led by EQT Corporation has gotten the necessary permits for the $3.7-billion-dollar project. It has criticized what it calls "obstructionists."

The Forest Service has said the protesters don't have the right to block the access road. A few days ago, however, the agency did allow a doctor to consult with the woman.

There were also several tree-sitters blocking the MVP site, although most of those protests have ended. None of the protesters would provide their names while on their perches, for fear of legal action.

According to Williams, supporters have nicknamed the woman on the pole "Nutty" - because from the ground, she looks like a nut at the top of a palm tree. However, they don't think that describes her resolve.

"This person is obviously strong and strong willed. She sounds very smart and clear headed," said Williams. "She's blocking the machinery from going up onto this beautiful mountain. So, she's going to stay until she can't."

Peter's Mountain straddles the Virginia-West Virginia border, adjacent to the Appalachian Trail. The pipeline is designed to carry billions of cubic feet of natural gas from the Marcellus fields to a connection point in Virginia, and from there to markets in the east.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV