More eco-terrorism to report, unfortunately. Someone (not yet arrested, but they’ll be hunted from now until eternity) set fire to construction equipment being used to build the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The construction site is located in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
MVP, which is now 70% complete, runs from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County. Sometime Saturday night an arsonist set fire to pipeline laying equipment: a Caterpillar PL 87 (pictured above).
No one is accusing anyone specifically, but the day before an out-of-state radical from Florida, Emma Howell, chained herself to a piece of MVP equipment at a nearby location. She was arrested and released after posting a $2,500 bond. There were others with her at the protest on Friday. That small group of radical protesters should be the first to be investigated, which we’re sure the police are doing.
A Saturday night fire that caused $500,000 in damage to equipment at a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site is being investigated as arson, the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office reports.
The fire occurred in the Smith Mountain community of northern Pittsylvania County, the sheriff’s office reported.
A passerby spotted the fire at about 11 p.m. Saturday and called 911. When emergency crews and sheriff’s deputies arrived they found the earth-moving equipment — referred to as a Caterpillar PL 87 — ablaze.
It was located on the site of the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction right-of-way, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Pittsylvania County fire marshal’s office determined the fire was intentionally set. There were no injures reported and no other equipment was damaged.
Anyone with information concerning the arson is asked to call the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Callers may be eligible for a reward.
On Friday, a protester was arrested at a pipeline site on Oxford Road in Climax after she locked herself to a piece of equipment.
Emma Howell, a 27-year-old Florida resident, locked herself to a horizontal drill in protest of the controversial 300-mile interstate natural gas pipeline, temporarily halting its construction.
Other opponents of the pipeline joined her at the site along Oxford Road in the Climax community in support.
Once she was removed from the drill, officers arrested her and took her into custody, according to a Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office news release. Officers charged her with criminal trespassing, a class 1 misdemeanor, before she was released from custody on a $2,500 unsecured bond.
Mountain Valley’s natural gas pipeline is being constructed in West Virginia and Virginia and runs through a portion of Pittsylvania County. (1)
A bit more detail about the situation, from the GAIN (Grow America’s Infrastructure Now) Coalition:
Yesterday, authorities in Pittsylvania County, Virginia said that a Saturday night fire at a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site was intentionally set and is being investigated as arson. In a statement, the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office said that a large piece of earthmoving equipment located at the worksite sustained $500,000 in damage.
This fire was set just a day after officers arrested a protestor, Emma Howell, who had locked herself to a horizontal drill resulting in a short delay in construction. According to reports, Ms. Howell is no stranger to being arrested. In late August, she was detained after protesting at a Boeing facility in Missouri.
Full statement from the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office:
“On Saturday, 2 February 2019 at 11:00 PM a passerby reported to the Pittsylvania County 911 Center that a vehicle was on fire in the 2900 block of Grassland Drive in the Smith Mountain community. Upon arrival of fire and Sheriff’s personnel it was found that the fire was a piece of earth moving equipment. The equipment was located on the site of the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction right-of-way. The Caterpillar PL 87 sustained approximately $500,000 in damage. Fire Marshalls have concluded the fire was intentionally set. There were no injuries and no other equipment was damaged by the fire. The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the Fire Marshall in the investigation.
Anyone with information concerning this arson is asked to call the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Callers may be eligible for a reward.”
Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, said:
“We condemn this act of eco-terrorism on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Destroying private property is not a form of protest. It is a violent criminal act that recklessly endangers the lives of others while instilling undue fear in otherwise peacefully communities. All parties both for and against this project should denounce these guerrilla-style tactics. We applaud local law enforcement and first responders for their commitment to the public’s safety and keeping the peace.” (2)
What happened is not cute. It’s not “free speech.” It’s not a protest. It’s a crime, and the criminal(s) need to be caught and prosecuted for the terrorists they are.
(1) Roanoke (VA) Times (Feb 3, 2019) – Pittsylvania Co. authorities investigate fire set to equipment at pipeline construction site
(2) Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN) Coalition (Feb 4, 2019) – Statement: Mountain Valley Pipeline Arson
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