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.”
Following is a quote from the GAIN Coalition, which you can attribute to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the Coalition:
“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.”