The governor in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia are whining about how they would stop the Mountain Valley or Atlantic Coast pipelines if they could. . . but they can’t.  Their hands are tied.  It’s a lie and they know it.

Theresa "Red" Terry has planted herself in a tree in Southwest Virginia to protest construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson

Theresa “Red” Terry has planted herself in a tree in Southwest Virginia to protest construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Must credit: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson

Of course, they can stop a pipeline and the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled they can – again.  On April 30, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Constitution Pipeline Co’s bid to challenge New York state’s refusal to issue a needed water permit for their project; a proposed natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to New York.

Partners in the 125-mile Constitution pipeline includes Williams Cos Inc, Duke Energy Corp, WGL Holdings Inc and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

While the Governors whine, the citizens take a stand. Theresa Red Terry and her daughter have been living in a tree platform for four weeks. They have been enduring snowstorms, bitter cold, heavy winds and torrential rains. The land was granted to Theresa’s husbands family by the King of England in Colonial times. (Photo credit borneobulletin.com.bn)

Police are charging the Terrys with trespassing on their own land. Waiting at the base of the trees are police ready to grab them when they come down. Food and water is no longer allowed to be provided to either woman.

A company (EQT) is seeking eminent domain to seize a 125-foot-wide easement from the family. EQT has successfully petitioned for a “right to early entry” for tree felling. The company wants the court to levy stiff fines or get federal marshals to bring them down. The judge has ordered the Terrys to appear in court. She’s not leaving the tree to go to court.

Equally disturbing, EQT will locate the noisy polluting compressor station in Union Hill, VA a historical African American community. A former “Slave Cemetery” is located in the path for destruction.

The Terry family is not alone.  Property rights advocates, environmentalists and faith leaders to name a few are standing with them. But time, food and water are running out.

Virginia’s governor Northam, has the authority to protect clean water and his Department of Environmental Quality can halt pipeline construction if standards have not been met, based on a law he signed this year.

However, his own Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has deferred to the Trump administration’s misuse of a “nationwide” Clean Water Act permit allowing the pipelines to alter more than 1,000 streams and rivers.

The governor could make one phone call to his DEQ director and halt the project. But he has not. Instead the “salt of the earth” American family will go to court and maybe jail for defending their rights to their land, trees and environment.