LINDSIDE, W.Va. — For the first time, a protester at the construction site of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Monroe County has been charged with a felony.
Holden C. Dometrius, 22, was arrested Thursday and charged with threats of terrorist acts, after chaining himself to a piece of equipment in the construction zone. He also was charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing, obstructing and tampering with a vehicle/special mobile equipment.
Dometrius’ bond was set at $8,000, cash only.
Several protesters have attached themselves to equipment at or near the construction site over the past several months, but all of the resulting charges were misdemeanors.
The natural gas pipeline has been the subject of ongoing protests and numerous legal challenges, since it was first proposed in 2015. Construction was halted briefly in 2018, when a federal court ruled permits from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service allowing the pipeline to be built on federal land did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Environmental groups, including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Appalachians Against Pipelines, have been among those challenging the legality of the construction project.
When completed, the pipeline will run from Northern West Virginia to Southern Virginia, with a 70-mile extension into North Carolina, which was announced in 2018.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.