Pipeline Protester Living In A Tree Encourages Onlookers To ‘Educate’ Themselves


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Two women launched a tree-sit against Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County, Virginia. 
  • The demonstration is the latest environmental protest against the 304-mile natural gas pipeline project. 
  • One of the women, Lauren Bowman, appears to have written critical articles about the pipeline, and against Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for not stopping it. 

An environmental protester gave words of wisdom to reporters who visited her as she tree-sits, high in the air, in an attempt to block construction of a natural gas pipeline.

“Educate yourself about what’s going on, because you might be in a position right now where you can ignore these issues, but sooner or later we’re all going to deal with them,” Lauren Bowman stated to WDBJ7, a local Virginia outlet.

Bowman — along with another woman who calls herself “Nettle” — are attempting to block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 304-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and carry up to 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Much like other pipeline projects across the country, Mountain Valley has been the target of numerous protests in the past months. (RELATED: Pipeline Protester Chains Herself To Equipment For 14 Hours To Change Governor’s Mind)

Bowman and Nettle became the latest activists to conduct an illegal protest against the Mountain Valley Pipeline early Wednesday morning.

The two women are tree-sitting — a form of protest where someone sits high in a tree, typically on a wooden platform, to prevent construction workers from cutting it down. The tree-sit is taking place in a wooded area in Montgomery County, Virginia, in the line of the pipeline’s path. Bowman said she is conducting the protest to “get people’s attention” and is vowing to stay in the trees for as long as it takes.

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, the owners of the natural gas line, responded to the latest protest.

“These unlawful blockades along the MVP route are creating unnecessary safety risks for everyone involved, including law enforcement, security personnel, project workers, and opponents themselves,” read an MVP statement Wednesday. “While we continue to respect the opinions of those opposed to important infrastructure projects, the actions of these opponents are spending taxpayers’ money by forcing public agencies to incur significant expenses in order to maintain safety and uphold the law.”

This may be Bowman’s first tree-sit, however, she appears to be no stranger to pipeline activism. A freelance writer under the name “Lauren Bowman Clontz” has published articles and runs a Facebook page that has been very critical of MVP. In the lastest article, published in Blue Ridge Outdoors, Bowman Clontz calls on Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to stop the construction of MVP. An Instagram page by a “Lauren Bowman Clontz” also includes photographs of anti-MVP protests.

Appalachians Against Pipelines — an environmental group that has repeatedly praised illegal protests of MVP and other pipelines — tweeted about the tree-sit happening in Montgomery County.

Bowman and Nettle’s protest could last for quite some time. They claim they are well-stocked with food and supplies. There is also no immediate need to force them down as there is no construction work underway in the immediate area.

The owners of the pipeline plan to have it completed by the first quarter of 2019.

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