Outdoor Updates: Pipeline Protest in West Virginia and Big Bucks for Outdoor Recreation in North Carolina

Two Protestors Arrested After Locking Themselves to Equipment

Construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) was recently put on hold when two protestors locked themselves to pipeline equipment in Lindside, W.Va. The protestors were removed and arrested after delaying construction for over five hours, according to environmental activist group Appalachians Against Pipelines. 

“A better world isn’t just possible, it’s necessary,” said the protestors, who go by the names Spit and Loam, in a statement shared by Appalachians Against Pipelines. “As we write this, wildfires rage, and major cities are recovering from unprecedented flooding. We’re not running out of time to address global climate change, we’re already out. We’re out of time for ‘transitional fossil fuels.’ We’re out of time for greenwashing by extraction companies. We’re out of time for a permitting process that calls projects that will increase gas consumption by two billion cubic feet a day ‘carbon neutral’.”

The MVP construction began in early 2018 and is currently 92 percent complete, according to the project’s website. The natural gas pipeline will span approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and will require three compressor stations throughout West Virginia.

Environmental groups have been fighting the pipeline since its start. These efforts prevented the MVP from using a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit that would have given a blanket construction clearance through Virginia and West Virginia, forcing them to obtain individual permits. Back in May, the MVP project announced that it will take until summer 2022 to finish and cost over $6.2 billion—more than double the time and money it originally estimated for completion. 

“We would love to see folks inspired to take action against the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Spit and Loam continued.

The VA Department of Environmental Quality held a meeting in Rocky Mount on Monday night regarding the project’s certification under the Clean Water Act along with another hearing the following night in Radford. Residents, pipeline workers, and environmental activists went back and forth sharing their thoughts with the State Water Control Board. The board will be accepting written comments until Oct. 27.

$5.1 Million Awarded to Local Communities for Outdoor Recreation Access in N.C.

On September 30, Governor Roy Cooper announced that over $5.1 Million in grants will fund 14 community projects from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which is administered through the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. 

Over $1.3 million of that grant money will be allocated for projects in western North Carolina,  including the Riverside Park extension in Woodfin, the Fonta Flora State Trailhead at Old Fort, Mars Hill Smith Farm Park, and the first phase of the Little White Oak Mountain Trail network in Polk County. 

“The local parks and recreation projects funded by these grants are especially important this year as the public use of parks, trails, and greenways has increased during the pandemic,” Gov. Cooper said. “These projects will give families additional healthy options to get active and outdoors close to home.”

Follow the links below for more information on these projects:

Smith Farm Park Project

Fonta Flora State Trail

Little White Oak Mountain Trail Network

Riverside Park Extension

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Places to Go, Things to See: