I recently traveled to Bent Mountain, VA to lead an interfaith prayer and support the local families working hard to prevent the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from being built through the pristine, forested watersheds and wetlands they have lovingly caretaken for generations. At the center of this struggle is a 61 year old woman, who wishes to be called Red, who has taken to living in a tree to protest the abuse of eminent domain law being used by MVP to steal her and her neighbor’s land to build the MVP, a project that threatens 12 million people’s drinking water. The MVP has recently been clear cutting trees in violation of the March 31st deadline for tree cutting, required by the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Protections to protect the Indiana bats who nest in Bent Mountain as well as migratory birds.
I was introduced to Red by Preserve Floyd’s very own Mara Eve Robbins. In my converstion with Red, we discussed how the challenges she is facing are the same challenges many others are facing around the country and around the world. I told her about my trip to Standing Rock and Camp White Pine as well as about the many camps in the UK that have formed to stop fracking, including Kerby Misperton Protection Camp. Her message to activists who responsed to the crisis in Standing Rock was simply, “Thank you! You are the ones who kicked this whole thing off.”
Red was very clear about her willingness to die to save the land, the woods and the water from wholesale destruction for profit. Her commitment is strong, as strong as the support of her community. You can find out the latest news on Red as well as how to support her and her community at Farmlands Fighting Pipelines.
While I was visiting with Red, WLS Channel 10 News, Roanoke interviewed Red but the footage never made it to the news. I took some footage of the interview here: Red’s Interview with Channel 10
The law enforcement response to Red’s brave and inspiring stand has been to cordon off the area in an attempt to starve Red out of her tree. This has left the community questioning why the police are serving and protecting the MVP and not the community members who are trying to protect their homes and the land and water supply from destruction and poisoning.