Pipeline protesters leave tree stands on Bent Mountain

Virginia News
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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Red and Minor Terry set foot on solid ground Saturday afternoon for the first time in over a month.

The mother and daughter came down from two tree stands they have occupied on the family’s Bent Mountain property since early April, but the women said their protest against the Mountain Valley Pipeline will continue.

On Friday, a federal judge found both women in contempt of court, and ordered them to come down by 11:59 p.m. Saturday, or face fines of $1,000 a day.

Coles Terry, Red’s husband, was also fined $2,000 for facilitating the tree sit protest.

Last week, attorneys representing the Mountain Valley Pipeline asked Judge Elizabeth Dillon to impose sanctions. They argued that the Terrys had violated a valid court order, had interfered with workers cutting trees in the pipeline right-of-way and had caused additional expenses for work crews, security and legal representation.

“The court understands that the Terrys and others are disappointed and frustrated with the situation,” Dillon wrote in her opinion. “But the Terrys have resorted to actions that clearly violate this court’s order and MVP’s rights under it.”

Both Red and Minor Terry were charged with misdemeanors, including trespassing, interfering with property rights and obstruction of justice.

Supporters cheered for both women as they left their tree stands Saturday afternoon, and the Terrys said they will continue to do what they can to oppose the natural gas pipeline.

They expect to visit Richmond for a rally against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and to attend a hearing in the federal appeals court that involves a constitutional challenge to the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

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