#StopMVP Solidarity from Coast to Coast

The POWHR team reflects on #StopMVP solidarity month amid corporate attacks on the right to protest

As we watch our mountains torn into by the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s ravenous construction frenzy, we continue to see powerful solidarity from our allies across the country.

During the month of October 2023, we witnessed and supported nearly a dozen #StopMVP solidarity protests, several in front of the biggest funders behind MVP (including Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo). 

In September, we put out a call to our networks for solidarity actions and we received hundreds of offers of solidarity. During the following month, we saw those offers come to fruition.

A group of red, blue, and purple screen prints

Art created at Artivism Virginia’s #StopMVP Solidarity Art Build in Charlottesville, VA on October 30th

Fighting a 303-mile pipeline across rural land can be lonely. Even on the route, we are far apart. We try to gather in person as much as we can, as we did at West Virginia Rivers Coalition’s stream monitoring training on October 21.

Volunteers test the water quality of the Greenbrier River, which is impacted by MVP construction

We also gathered at our #StopMVP Community Day on October 22. We raised over $2,000 for our beloved Newport Community Center, which has been a safe place for us during this near decade long fight.

Community Organizer Kellie Ferguson holding the raffle jar and sign

When President Biden and Congress passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and fast tracked the beleaguered MVP, we felt more alone than ever. We had just spent the year mobilizing hundreds in DC and building power with the frontlines across the country, and now our efforts to stop the pipeline had been stymied. 

But in the months following the passage of the FRA and re-start of construction, we saw people continue to visit the frontline and organize actions in their own communities. 

This reminded us of our core belief that the struggle to fight MVP is the struggle against the fossil fuel industry and the struggle for all of our survival in the face of climate catastrophe.

A flash mob organized by DC-based theater group TELAS (Teatro Experimental Laboratorio Artístico Social) in front of Bank of America on October 20th

The biggest funders behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline continue to back the project despite repeated delays, huge budget increases, and reckless construction that has resulted in hundreds of environmental violations. As we head into winter, MVP finally admitted what we all knew – they won’t finish construction by the end of this year. They blamed the mountainous terrain that they chose and the inability to recruit workers for this. The MVP continues to falsely claim that it is 94% complete when it reports to the federal government that it is 56% complete to final restoration. Our campaign to #DefundMVP is critical to our fight to #StopMVP.

A protest organized by Third Act Virgnia on October 4th in front of Wells Fargo to demand they stop funding MVP and climate chaos

We are committed to holding these big banks accountable to the destruction they have funded in Appalachia and the world. We are grateful for our fierce partners across the US who are steady in their advocacy for climate accountability.

A protester in San Francisco in front of the Wells Fargo headquarters during an action organized by 350 Bay Area and Oil and Gas Action Network on October 26th

As the climate crisis intensifies and the climate movement strengthens, corporations are feeling the heat (literally and figuratively). 

The fossil fuel industry is undermining our right to free speech by helping to craft anti-protest laws that stifle protest near fossil fuel projects. According to Greenpeace, 18 states accountable for about 60% of oil and gas production have enacted anti-protest laws

Many of the companies that helped create these laws have filed SLAPP suits against people organizing against fossil fuel projects. SLAPP suits use the court to silence people who have exercised their right to public participation. The fossil fuel industry has also cooperated with law enforcement in order to get what they want. 

A protest on the Mountain Valley Pipeline route declared “Appalachians Slap Back” in reference to a SLAPP suit filed by the pipeline company in September. Protesters acknowledged that this tactic is used to scare opposition away from protesting the project, but they say it won’t work.

A community member having fun at Community Day on October 22 in Newport, VA

Over the last month, we’ve seen sustained protests against the MVP and we are not going to slow down. We are committed to stopping this needless, disastrous project and healing our home in the direction of a just, renewable future.