November 3, 2023
From Popular Resistance

Above photo: Appalachians Against Pipelines.

Webster County, WV — Early Thursday morning 11/2/23, pipeline fighter Jerome locked himself to a Mountain Valley Pipeline drill at the Elk River crossing in Webster County, WV. Jerome prevented construction for over 3 hours, at which time he was extracted by law enforcement and arrested. He was charged with 4 misdemeanors, and has been released from jail. A banner at the site of Jerome’s blockade read “Doom to the pipeline!”

“I am the father of 3 daughters and the grandfather—soon—of 5 grandsons,” Jerome stated. “I am horrified by what climate change is already doing to all life here on Earth. And I’m even more horrified that we still envision and construct projects like MVP which will only worsen the warming and deepen the chaos.

“To me, this project marks a watershed moment—a tipping point. All the powers of the federal government (executive, congressional, and judiciary) are aligned to support the fossil fuel industry in this catastrophic project. If we, as caring humans, let that effort prevail, we invite more ram-rodded fossil fuel projects and generations of continued entrenchment in global warming emissions and deepening social distress.

“I am a retired white male with lots of privilege. Today, I am using that privilege to fight back. Together, we say, ‘Nope!’ to Joe Manchin, the debt deal extortionist. ‘No way!’ to MVP and their doomed pipeline. ‘Yay!’ to the resistance.

“Doom to the pipeline!”

Last month, Mountain Valley Pipeline again delayed the projected in-service date for their $7.2 billion pipeline to 2024. The pipeline is now $3.7 billion over budget and nearly 6 years behind schedule. Recent climate projections are shocking—93% of the Earth’s permafrost could vanish by 2100, human health is increasingly threatened by a rising number of extreme heat days, and our current extinction rate is nearly 1,000 times the natural rate. Reports now show that fossil fuel companies have been predicting climate change impacts accurately since the 1970s while simultaneously spending billions to dispute those findings publicly and discourage and criminalize climate action.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 42-inch diameter fracked gas pipeline that will cover 303 miles of Appalachia. The project has a long record of environmental violations and court battles about failures to hold on to key permits, and is emblematic of the struggle to transition away from fossil fuels. In June 2023 the pipeline was fast-tracked by Congress, despite local residents voicing their opposition and concerns. MVP still has hundreds of water and wetland crossings to complete during the construction process.