Despite getting arrested and serving time in jail for a pipeline protest, several out-of-state activists said they are happy with the experience.
Protesters Lex Ugar, Max Shaw and Syd White were charged with three different misdemeanors and served two days in jail after they chained themselves onto pipeline equipment in June, an act that forced construction employees to halt work for several hours until law enforcement was able to safely remove them.
Ugar and Shaw, both in their 20s, and 18-year-old White, were protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 300-mile pipeline project that will transport natural gas across Virginia and West Virginia. Around 25 other anti-pipeline activists were on scene and watched as the events unfolded. (RELATED: We Traveled Out To The Middle Of The Bayou, And We Found Anti-Pipeline Protesters Living In Trees)
Mountain Valley Pipeline, like so many other pipeline projects across the U.S., has been subjected to numerous illegal protests from environmental activists. Appalachians Against Pipelines has been one major organization devoted to stopping Mountain Valley.
Lock down at Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site this morning. Work stopped for 3 hours and counting. Cops threatening violence (pepper spray, tasers). Donate: https://t.co/BeILeCrRnF #noMVP #nopipelines #resist pic.twitter.com/2XMxLErUUh
— Appalachians Against Pipelines (@stopthemvp) June 4, 2018
Locking one’s body onto construction equipment with a device — commonly referred to as a “sleeping dragon” — is a dangerous and popular tactic among anti-pipeline activists. The objective is to temporarily prevent construction from taking place as police wrestle with the task of safely removing the protester without physically harming them.
The three young activists — who actually live in Massachusetts — had to travel far for their protest, which went down at a construction site in Monroe County, West Virginia. They were ultimately charged with trespassing, obstructing and resisting arrest.
However, the trio claim that the entire experience had a positive impact on them.
“I think we all kind of agreed that this is work that needs to be done, and if we’re in a position to do it then we kind of have a responsibility to do it, even,” White stated to WSLS 10 News, a local media outlet.
“Direct action and direct resistance is a way that says, ‘Look, we’ve tried everything we know how to try. You can’t ignore this,'” Shaw added.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline, for its part, has run into regulatory roadblocks. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a stop-work order on Aug. 3, pointing to environmental concerns. Owners of the pipeline expect construction work to be completed by the first quarter of 2019, but FERC’s ruling might set the project back until the end of 2019.
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