ALDERSON, W.Va. — For the third time in three months, a protestor arrested at the construction site of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been charged with a felony.
An unidentified man was taken into custody by West Virginia State Police, after he had been chained to an excavator for several hours Wednesday at a work zone adjacent to the Blackberry Botanicals organic farm near Alderson in Summers County. The suspect was charged with two misdemeanors, trespassing and obstruction, and threat of a terrorist act, which is a felony. Bond was set at $6,000.
Two previous arrests at the site have resulted in felony charges, during ongoing protests by groups and individuals who say they are concerned about the environmental impact of the construction and of the pipeline itself.
“Having the pipeline so close to where we live is one of the scariest prospects we face in our holler. Most of us have well water, so the danger of unclean water is always present. I fully support direct actions like the one happening today that physically halt construction of this dangerous project,” said Summers County resident Madi Persinger.
In May, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection entered into a consent order, obligating the company to pay nearly $266,000 for repeated environmental violations, mostly regarding erosion and water contamination.
Following Wednesday’s incident, Mountain Valley released the following statement regarding the protests:
“While we appreciate the support we have received across the region, we understand that the efforts and progress we have made to plan and design a pipeline route that will protect cultural and historic resources, as well as preserve sensitive and environmental species, may not satisfy those opposed to underground, natural gas infrastructure. We respect the opinions of those who are opposed to the MVP project and, more importantly, we want to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the various phases of the construction process.“
When completed, the 300-mile pipeline will operate between northwestern West Virginia and southern Virginia.