A Few Notes From The Resistance

nopipeline

What’s Happening with Red?

At 61 years of age, Red Terry has climbed a tree fifty feet up on Bent Mountain, Virginia in an effort to prevent the Mountain Valley Pipeline from blasting a hole through her property. As of last weekend, there was no resupply of food for her, no recharge for her cellphone, or laptop. No cigarettes. On the ground below her a band of plastic yellow tape formed a perimeter; yellow tape with these words: ‘Police Line.’ The effort might seem ill advised, but she has many supporters who have gathered to offer their encouragement. She also has detractors.

surveliiance

Roanoke County Police and plainclothes negotiator watch over Red’s Tree-Sit.

The group at the bottom of the tree-sit, inside the yellow border, include a Roanoke county police officer, a plainclothes negotiator who wants to remain nameless, and a Mountain Valley Pipeline security guard from Global Security who also wants to remain nameless. He keeps his face turned down, so you can’t see who he is. No pictures are allowed.

This is Red Terry’s life right now, out on Bent Mountain, just a little beyond Roanoke, where they have been planning to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline for the last three years, right through the middle of Red’s family property.

I drove up there with another activist last weekend on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Hiking in, I saw lean-tos, flappy blue canopies, orange pup tents, prayer flags and ribbons that decorated the path along the woods. Signs read: “Water Is Life” or “We Will Win.” These are Red’s family and friends. They don’t wear masks and are happy to have their names known. Because of the distance we have to stay back from her, I have to shout just to be heard.

“How long have you been up there, Red!?”

“20 days, give or take!” She yells back. Since April 3rd.

“How long are you going to stay out there?”

“Until common sense prevails!”

“In your view, what would ‘common sense prevails’ mean?” A philosophical inquiry.

“This Mountain Valley Pipeline is going after our trees, our water, our air, and our lives. So we need to get rid of this pipeline. The politicians need to stand up. They need to stop bending over for this business.”

A suitable reply. Nearby, I hear laughter from her supporters.

redfriends

A few of Red’s supporters, voicing encouragement and support.

“Delegate Rasoul was out here, talked to you the other day, did that offer you some hope?”

Delegate Rasoul said at a recent press conference by the Roanoke River, “We’re here to say, ‘don’t touch our drinking water.’” In reference to the problems the pipeline might cause for the local water supply.

He was joined in the television spot by the General Manager and Brewmaster of Parkway Brewing Company who added that negative impact on water quality could stunt the region’s economic growth.

“Deschutes and Ballast Point didn’t come here because the water sucked,” he said pointedly in the conference. “They came here because the water’s good and the quality of life is good. So do we let this impact us to the point where these people who have put millions of dollars into our economy make a second choice about what they’re doing?”

It was a rhetorical question that still needs answering.

All Red said from her tree top was, “Anything that gets talked about is a little bit of hope.”

Cole, Bigger Cole as he is called, Red Terry’s husband, added some detail.

BiggerCole

“Bigger” Cole at Bent Mountain.

 

“[Delegate] Sam Rasoul waded in Bottom Creek here with his daughters the other day. His two girls built a bridge out of sticks right there. Those girls did all the work. They asked him [Rasoul], ‘Why can’t she [Red] come down out of the tree? Why will they cut the tees down?”

“I don’t think he had a good answer. He hadn’t put his feet in the creek until then.” It’s a subtle metaphor and Cole, a big man with a spat of gray hair hidden under a khaki cap pauses to let the meaning sink in. He offers a wide smile to match his namesake.

Bigger Cole has a universal view of the situation, “All of our water effects all of their water. We’re a tier 3 water way. It took ten years to get that designation. That means we have some of the best tasting, cleanest water in the state. Probably on Earth. And it feeds the watersheds that let folks all the way to Roanoke and beyond drink good water.”

bentcreek

Bottom Creek, one of the beautiful tributaries flowing through Bent Mountain.

 

Streams and creeks from Bent Mountain flow into the Roanoke River, which provides drinking water to the whole region. Fresh springs from Terry’s land, along with thousands of capillary like creeks and tributaries will be crossed by the pipeline hundreds of times over. It occurs to me that we are watching an environmental disaster in slow motion.

The way Bigger Cole sees it, the personal is political. Rasoul had brought his children out to see Red Terry in her tree last week, but once his daughters started asking their questions, he knew he had to do something.

“Once he put his feet in the creek,” as Bigger Cole explained.

Delegate Rasoul heeded his daughter’s concerns. He’s asked the state to suspend permits for soil-clearing to give more time to study water impact. On Wednesday, he was joined by more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers who held a news conference highlighting Red Terry’s protest and calling on the governor to do more.

“We’re asking — urging — demanding that our good friend Ralph Northam … work with us to find common ground,” said Delegate Mark L. Keam, who was joined by Rasoul and other Delegates from Prince William, Fairfax, Alexandria and Richmond to show solidarity with southwest colleagues.

“We stand together, and we stand with Red,” said newly elected Delegate Danica Roem of Prince William County.

This is good, but it may be too late. The way most the people at this encampment see it, if it’s allowed to continue, the Mountain Valley Pipeline will destroy the water quality of Bottom Creek and Bent Mountain; it will destroy the landscape, along with their property values, along with the climate: a kind of devil’s trifecta.

Bigger Cole is not the only one with concerns. His son had also built a tree stand, but was unable to get to it before the police arrived. They took the ladder away, and little Cole had no choice but to stay on as part of a support team in the base camp. But Red’s daughter, Minor Terry, managed to scramble up her stand before they arrived. She’s down the road, also sitting in a tree, about fifty feet up, with Roanoke County police below her and a police line taping her off, as well.

I asked Red if she wasn’t an inspiration to her daughter.

“Do you think you influenced her?”

“I guess. We built these together. I went up and then she went up. She said I wouldn’t be alone, so I guess so. We are a close family. But I’m twice her age, so I get twice the area.” Red laughed.

Age has its privileges, after all, but she notes that the best property, directly below her, got taken by the police.

“Inside the yellow tape, the police got all the good real estate.”

“That’s where we can’t go now?

“Yeah, that’s why everybody has to yell now.”

“When did the police tape go up?”

“It’s been, oh gosh, two weeks. I know that it’s changed like five or six times. Every time I piss somebody off, it gets bigger.”

Red is good at pissing people off. Especially those in authority. A heavy smoker, she called down to police that she needed BC Powder for pain and cigarettes to keep her calm. The police sent up a few aspirins, but they said she’d have to come down to get the cigarettes. She didn’t take the bait. Instead, she dumped out her waste bucket on them, missing them by inches. In reaction, they expanded the crime tape to keep her supporters farther away, and probably to keep themselves clear as well.

“Yeah, I get cold at night,” she said, after I asked her about the weather, and the recent snow, “I have two sleeping bags, hand warmers. In the morning when I stick my head out and see my breath, I feel like a ground hog, I just want to go back under.”

She is charged with trespassing, obstruction of justice and interfering with property rights. And because of Eminent Domain law she’s also been charged with a Federal Contempt of Court charge.

When they took her ladder away, she asked, ‘how am I supposed to get down?’

They responded, “If you need it, it’s going to be down here.”

Since April 3rd, without food, water or cigarettes, she has yet to take them up on the offer.
campkickass

Camp Kick Ass

I visited Minor Terry’s tree sit a little later that afternoon. When I asked Minor if she thought that the Mountain Valley Pipeline personnel might be afraid of her, because of her mother’s defiance and gruff manner, Minor laughed, then replied:

“Mountain Valley Pipeline can suck it. That’s me filtering.” She laughed again from her tree top, ignoring the blue tent directly beneath her, in which the MVP Global Security personnel sat, monitoring her every word. When I asked if I could speak to him, he said no, but came out for an instance and handed me a card. The bottom half of his face was completely covered with a black respirator mask, that made him look a little like Batman’s nemesis, the Bane.

“Why are you wearing a mask?”

“It’s not a mask, it’s a respirator. ‘Cause of the wood cutting and stuff.”

I wanted to point out that no one else was in need of a respirator, there were no trees currently being cut, and that the mountain offered some of the cleanest air in the state.

“May I get your name?”

“No.”

“May I take a picture?”

“Absolutely not.”

He handed me the card and went back into his tent. There was a website address and a hotline number on it for all MVP communications: 844-MVP-TALK.

When I called the number, I was told to press 4 for a general inquiry for the project team. I left a message asking why they had MVP security personnel on the Terry’s property. I have not heard back from them yet.

**

At 30, Minor had the same steadfastness of purpose as her mother, but with a slightly lighter touch. Even unfiltered. She saw the absurdity of their situation clearly enough, but also saw that she didn’t have much choice in the matter, at least not from her perspective. She hovered above me by about fifty feet up, at a camp named, unabashedly, “Camp Kickass”

“The pipeline’s not even necessary. I’m here because I’d rather not let them ruin my land, my water and my family’s life. They [MVP] wants to plant a 42 inch [the circumference of the pipeline] bomb in my backyard. I’d be crazy not to try to stop it, don’t you think?”

explosion

Appomattox Natural Gas Line Explosion. YouTube of explosion at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ths0YAgZs

 

The notion that the pipeline is a potential bomb is not trivial. The 42 inch pipeline will have a pressure of 1400 psi as it pumps fracked natural gas through Appalachia from Pennsylvania to the Atlantic coast. That’s nearly double the pressure of a smaller pipeline near Appomattox that exploded on September 19, 2008, with flames more than 300 feet high. According to Dr. Alden Dudley, writing in the Roanoke Times, the explosion “left a hole 20 feet deep and 2,250 feet in diameter (almost one half mile) in farmland. It exploded two houses and damaged 100 others. Williams and Transco Companies were fined $1 million for improper pipeline maintenance. Multiple defects in the 52-year-old pipe were known to exist, but they ignored them.”

Dudley paints a vivid picture of what an MVP pipeline ‘bomb’ would be like:

“A hole more than a mile wide. Instant incineration of all adults, children, pets, animals, vegetation, homes, schools, stores, industry, and government offices over an area 3-5 miles in diameter. Dams will be destroyed and lakes gone. Thousands of people will be killed in hill country; tens of thousands if near cities; more than that within cities. Our reputation as an environment-friendly state will never recover. Forget tourists, retirees and breweries that can no longer get potable water. In fact, forget economic development.”

He continues, “This article sounds heretical and outlandish. But certainty of a big bang is predictable. Pipeline companies speak proudly of “only 0.03 percent events per year per thousand miles of pipeline.” At that rate, the 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline should have only one leak every three years. By 2006 the pipe thickness was eroded more than 50 percent, shipping of oil was down 50 percent because of pipe weakness, and there were already more than 500 leaks each year.”

In other words, there will be leaks, predictable as rain, and since it is natural gas under incredibly high pressure, there will also be explosions. It’s not a question of if, but when.

That’s why Minor is up in a tree. In the scheme of things, she tells me, she is a ‘Minor problem.’

A Minor irritant, she jokes.

“So, what’s your ideal outcome?” I asked.

“Oh, bankrupt MVP [and their funding partner, EQT]. But I would accept them caving under pressure, realizing it was just a bad idea, and going home.”

littlcole

Cole Terry supports Minor Terry from the base camp on Bent Mountain.

 

It seems unlikely, but there are signs of hope. Her supporters give her strength to continue, and her family is out there every day. Her brother camps out at night with her so she is never completely alone. Other journalists are coming out daily. On the afternoon I was there, Eleanor Buckley, a reporter from WFXR television in Roanoke hiked out and interviewed her for a nightly news segment.

She had brought with her an apple. She asked the police if she could throw the apple to Minor so that she might have something to eat.

The police officer sitting underneath Minor’s encampment told her ‘no.’

“I can’t give her an apple? A basic human need, an apple?”

“No. I’d have to charge you.”

cutreets

Part of the Apple Orchard that was cut down by MVP.

 

There’s a deep irony in this, as there is an apple orchard not far from where Minor is camped that was recently cut down– destroyed by MVP — because it was in the path of the pipeline. The apple orchard was over a hundred years old.

“How does that make you feel?” the reporter asked.

“I try not to let it get to me.”

A few days earlier, Roanoke County had assured her they would see to her nutritional needs. But no one has provided her food and whatever supplies she has up with her are probably dwindling fast.

Her ‘wellness check’ amounted to some county personnel calling up to her, asking her how she was doing. One of them tied a plastic bag of Kroger Brand Cliff protein bars near the base of the tree. In order to eat these, she would have to climb down. That was the deal.

The Cliff bars still dangled there for all to see, like bait.

**

It’s hard to imagine the Terrys had foreseen all this when they first started building their stands, months ago. The entire Terry family worked together constructing the platforms on which Red and Minor now lay. They got the idea when folks up on Peters Mountain, near the West Virginia border stared their sits, nearly 60 days ago.

“Honestly, we kicked the idea around for nearly a year. When the Peters Mountain tree sits went up, we said if they can do it, we can do it. It was inspirational. When we heard about that, we cheered.”

“I have to fight to live here, because I can’t live anywhere else,” Minor explained. She had once moved off the mountain when she was younger, but returned within the year. “I missed it, the mountain, the woods, the silence. It’s my home.”

ribbons

Now blue and white ribbons tied to stakes outline her tree sit, indicating what MVP calls the Limit of Disturbance (LOD) and what the Terrys jokingly refer to as the Limit of Destruction. According to a recent court ruling, her tree sit is in the LOD, meaning it is now MVP’s property, not Minor’s or Cole’s or Red’s. They have lived on this land for seven generations.

Yet, they remain optimistic. In a recent podcast of End of the Line, Red said that even while she sits yards above everybody, she just keeps making friends. “I’ve got a young girl that set up a tent next to me, because she didn’t want me to be alone at night. I just met her today! And she’s camping out.”

Red and Minor remember the time, not so long ago when they were undisturbed on their property on Bent Mountain. “I have no curtains in my house. I’d get up and I’d look out those windows, and I think that I’m the luckiest person alive.”

Minor describes how her mom fought off the gypsy moths when they first attacked the trees in the Bent Mountain area, for months at a time. She never gave up. “I think fighting off MVP will be at least that hard.” But she’s ready for a fight, Minor said. Certainly she and her mother have no intention of giving up anytime soon. Maybe that’s why they call it Camp Kickass.

mara

Mara Robbins before sign: our water is greater than pipelines

 

The Hellbender Autonomous Zone at Peters Mountain

pocohantosrd

Pocahontas Access Road to Hellbender Autonomous  Zone at Peters Mountain

 

While I was interviewing Minor Terry, the reporter from WFXR gave me the low down on Peters Mountain camp: it sounded daunting.

It’s a tough hike, she explained. “They really don’t want you to succeed.” They being, in no particular order, EQT, MVP and the U.S. Forest Service.

Here’s why. You are not allowed to walk Pocahontas road, the access road to the camp, even though it’s the access road as well for the Appalachian trail. Rather, just past the entrance for the Appalachian trail, marked by a set of orange cones, you must skirt the mountain ridge, one hundred and twenty-five feet from the center of the road. What this means, in practice, is that you must walk along the side of the mountain at a precipitous angle, filled with bramble and thorns and rocks, and snakes. Yes, snakes.

The U.S. Forest Service which maintain the road, claims the 125 foot barrier is to ensure public safety. I wanted to know who came up with that number, and why, in God’s name, they would think it safer to hug a mountain ridge where one slip could break your neck, then a graveled access road? The Forest Service Ranger whom I talked with at the foot of the mountain would not comment.

Walking along the side of the mountain, I decided to call my handy MVP ‘Talk’ phone number and ask them who came up with that crazy distance. I left MVP another message. I have not heard back from them yet.

It took me about an hour and a half to get there. Through the woods, the rocks, the nettles, the brambles and snakes. Eleanor, from WFXR told me that when she attempted the hike, the rangers told her at the outset: “Call 9/11 when you fall down the hill.”

“I guess they didn’t think I would make it in these shoes.”

**

monopod

Peters Mountain Monopod.

 

The Hellbender Camp is not really a true tree sit, in that there is no person in a tree, per se. Rather, an individual nicknamed Nutty [she wants to remain anonymous] has taken a 60 foot cut pole of wood and raised it with a platform on top for her sleeping area. This has become known as the monopod. She has tethered the pole with multiple wires affixed to nearby trees, stakes in the ground, and, notably, the gate to the access road for MVP. If someone tries to open the gate, the cable goes, the monopod falls over, and Nutty will be severely injured, if not killed outright.

runningtape

U.S. Forest Service pushing the camp back with yellow crime scene tape.

 

Neither the rangers nor MVP personnel have tried to open the gate, or taken the monopod down, but rangers have given it a violent wiggle which caused everyone in the camp to yell at them until they stopped. Nutty’s game plan was to prevent MVP from getting access to two other tree sitters further up on Peters mountain who have been there for the better part of 60 days.

When I arrived, drenched with sweat and parched, folks at the camp were tense, watching U.S. Forest Rangers re-arranging their yellow crime scene tape. That Saturday, they had a type of open house in the camp for those who wanted to visit, but on the day I arrived, it seemed as if the U.S. Forest Service was fed up with the trickle of visitors they had received. They were pushing everyone back from the monopod yet again.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

“Measuring. Re-measuring. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

“125 feet?”

“That’s what they say.”

“They don’t seem to be actually measuring,” noted another activist at the camp, “They seem to be guesstimating.”

“It’s not very scientific, that’s for sure.”

The lack of scientific certainty is something of a theme with the MVP saga. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a ruling allowed the pipeline to go through, but in an important dissent, Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur noted that she found the argument for the pipeline based on ‘public interest’ wanting. She found that environmental impacts to the karst region and the water could be worse than anticipated, and that there were other alternatives that were not pursued. Regarding the specific notion of whether the pipeline was in the “public interest,” she said that there was still a great deal of uncertainty as to the destination for the pipeline output. Implicit in this is a question: how much natural gas does the area actually need or use?

Activists at the camp are not uncertain, however. They said that the excess natural gas was intended for markets overseas.

“14 % return on investment is what the pipeline is about. It is not about supplying us with energy, that’s for sure.”

If you follow the chain of this story, from when FERC approved the pipeline to the DEQ State approval by way of the State Water Control Board, you will find example after example of studies not made, assessments skipped, sidelined, or postponed. At each turn, MVP was granted a green light despite concerns by scientists and researchers that no proper assessment of environmental impacts had been made. Given this, it’s easy to understand the activists’ cynicism regarding U.S. Forest Rangers blithely taping off their camp.

monopodwith ranger

Monopod with U.S. Forest Ranger running tape.

 

 

“So I guess ya’ll are following your boss’s orders?” asked a wiry fellow off to my left. He had a large gaucho moustache, twirled at either end, and wore a baseball cap. This was Jamie Hale.

The rangers didn’t answer, just kept laying out the plastic yellow tape.

At last, maybe one of them could answer my burning question, “Who came up with that number anyhow?”

Nobody answered. Instead they were watching some of their camp members don backpacks and arranging themselves in a wide arc all along the fence line. I saw an older man, with long silver hair, and dark blue vest, nodding to another activist farther down the line, mouth the word: now.

Then, they were gone. Whoosh. Running under the yellow fence to my left, and then another, to my right.

“Get back! Get back!” One of the younger rangers yelled, while the older ranger who had previously done the measuring, hauled off after the fellow in the vest. They were trying to reach the monopod and either climb it, or throw the packs up to Nutty for resupply. Like Red and Minor, the U.S. Forest Service appeared set on starving her out. Directly below Nutty, the rangers had built a campfire that was thick with smoke, probably making it hard for her to draw a clean breath.

The two backpack laden activists ran back and forth in the woods, crunching on leaves and branches, between the yellow tape and the monopod for a few minutes, both of them breathing heavily, chased by the furious rangers who kept yelling, “’ going to jail!”, like a kind of weird mash up of Blair Witch Project, and Keystone Cops.

“He’s going to jail. Take him to jail!”

Finally, the old ranger brought Doug, the silver haired man, to the ground. “Hold him there!”

petersmountarrest

Arrests on Peters Mountain.

 

From the monopod came Nutty’s voice, watching the scene, “Ya’ll okay? You good?”

The other runner, retreated back behind the yellow line, and went toward the rear of the camp, tried to disappear amid the tents, but a ranger went in to retrieve him.

“What are you doing?” Jamie Hale asked the ranger.

“I’m just doing my job, man.”

“But does that make it right, doing your job makes it right? Come on.”

arrest2

“You know you’ve  touched the wrong side of history?”

 

“You know you’ve touched on the wrong side of history,” said Betty, wife to the man who had been taken down in the woods, “History will judge you!” Betty went into a tent and then returned and handed the ranger a narrow blue tablet container, a little square block for every day of the week, “He has a health condition. He has Lyme’s disease. He’s had two mini-strokes. These are his meds.”

The sheriff was called shortly thereafter, and, in a surprisingly brief period of time, two deputies from the Giles County Sheriff department showed up in what looked like a black Camaro, with Pink letters announcing ‘Sheriff’ and a stylish pink ribbon meant to symbolize the office’s effort to fight breast cancer, I guessed.

The two deputies stepped out of the Sheriff’s car and walked toward the encampment.

jamieangryatAR15

Giles County  Deputies Armed with AR-15s.

 

Each carried an AR 15.

“Is that an AR 15?” Jamie asked, “We ain’t armed.”

“Well I don’t know that,” said the deputy.

“Now I’m serious. Chad, you know this. Ya’ll don’t need no guns up here.”

“I’m not up here to cause none of you trouble,” said Chad, “None of you problems.”

“Yeah, but your bringing guns into our camp.”

“We’re not disputing ya’lls legal right to be here. And we’re not telling you, you gotta leave.”

“Don’t need guns,” Jamie snapped, “I will guarantee your safety.”

“We had no idea what was going on. We were dispatched out here, 1033. That’s the only information they gave us.”

“You’re defending the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” said another activist, Emily Satterwhite.

“No ma’am. We’re not defending anything. We were just called for assistance, that’s the reason we’re here.”

“You are. You were called for assistance by people defending the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which means you are also defending the pipeline.”

“I understand, but the same scenario, if one of you called us for assistance, we’d come up here and assist ya’ll, too. That’s what we’re sworn to do.”

“Okay, I’m going to call you for assistance.” She pointed to the monopod, “The Forest Service is not letting this person get food or water. What are you going to do about it?”

“We’re state employees, they’re federal employees. They’ve got jurisdiction over us.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“There’s nothing we can do about it. They have jurisdiction over us.”

“You just said if we called for assistance, you were going to help us. But you’re not helping her,” pointing to the monopod, “You’re helping them. You’re helping MVP.”

“I’m not for the pipeline, I’m not against the pipeline. I have a sworn duty to uphold, and you know this. You and I have already talked about this.”

“Bullshit,” Jamie Hale barked, “These son ‘a bitches are trying to destroy my home, and you going to take my county taxes that pay your salary, Chad—and you won’t– Bullshit.” Jamie Hale looked down and continued to swear, finally looked up, again: “I watched you grow up. I know who you are.”

“We’re not here to cause problems for anybody.”

“Just our friends who are trying to feed a starving woman” Emily muttered. She had tears in her eyes.

“We enforce state law. But we have no jurisdiction over federal law.”

“Go give the girl some food, man.” said Jamie at last, “Don’t let me down. Lay your badge down and go give her some food.”

Jamiepointing

“Go give the girl some food, man.”

 

**

This story does not end well. The two deputies do not lay their badges down, as you might imagine. They do not feed Nutty. They do nothing of the sort.

Emily said, “I know you say you’re not taking sides, but every time law enforcement shows up. They win.”

Another activist yelled, more simply, “Everybody’s working for the fucking pipeline.”

They arrest the one back packer who was trying to feed a starving friend. The other back packer, Doug, the older man, has a medical condition and is being taken to the hospital to get checked up before he is formally arrested. He is delivered into an ambulance and, at the last minute, Betty asks if she can accompany her husband to the hospital. She is told ‘no’, because he is under arrest and cannot have another rider in the back of the vehicle. But another emergency rescue vehicle is there, and an arrangement is made for Betty to be driven behind the ambulance.

rescue

I watch as they all get in, and drive away. When I turn back around, I see Jamie sitting on the side of the mountain viewing all of this. His cap is cocked back. He’s leaned over as though he’s had a stroke himself, clinging to his walking stick.

It’s the end to another skirmish in a war that’s been going on for over three years now. Pretty soon, Jamie warns me, someone is going to die. It might be Nutty. It might be Red, or Minor, or one of the tree sitters farther up on Peters Mountain. They are not giving up, and MVP has the enormous power of money, and its adherent emotion, greed, and bureaucratic fear and inertia to assist them. Yes, something has to give.

Jamie leans against his walking stick, flung out against the mountain side exhausted with the day. There are tears in his eyes, though he’s not the type of man you can imagine weeping. But the way things are here, on the last stands against the pipeline, despair is as reasonable as anything else I’ve seen. I shake his hand.

“Thanks for coming out,” he says. “It’s been a long day, but we got to fight it. Our way of life is being threatened, and our constitution is being threatened.” He looks at the tape recorder I have in my hand, “and you can quote me on that.”

He takes a breath, asks, “You heading home?” I nod, “Look for the little pink ribbons right along the ridge line there on your way back. I marked a trail, so it’ll be easier that way. Tell people,” he says, “when you get back to Richmond, tell people we need their help. Tell them you’ve got to use Hale’s trail to get to the Hellbender camp. Tell them that’s the best way in.”

mountainheart

**

Update:  As of April 26th, both Minor and Red Terry have been allowed food and water. “I want them to be safe, and so we want to make sure that they have food and water,” Govenor Northam said in a Facebook Live interview at the WTOP-FM radio station. “The one that’s up in one of the trees referred to as ‘Red’ has been asking for cigarettes. I worry about her health. She’s 61 years old; she’s up in the … weather; she’s smoking cigarettes,” noted Governor Northam with a hint of disapproval. Governor Northam is a pediatric neurologist.

To which Red Terry responded from her tree sit:

“Hey Gov, I am quitting cigarettes. You quit this pipeline!”

 

Whitney Whiting’s podcast, End of the Line, referenced in this article, can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/pipelinepodcast/sets/full-episodes

 

 

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