Kentucky Floods

Environment and Outdoors

The dramatic cave rescue effort in Thailand has captured the world’s attention — not to mention that of people with considerable experience exploring caves. David Socky of Roanoke offered special praise for those who must dive as part of the effort; he says there aren’t that many expert cave divers around, and it is inherently dangerous. He spoke with WFIR’s Evan Jones:



Downtown Roanoke resident Dart the Bulldog enjoying the weather at Big Lick Brewing Company

A new state law means you can now take your dogs into breweries and wineries that permit k-9’s inside. WFIR’s Ian Price has details on a website that’ll tell you everywhere you can take your four-legged friends:

A link to can be found by clicking here

Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is currently on hold in Virginia, but state regulators say this is a temporary suspension — and not a cessation. The Department of Environmental Quality says pipeline officials agreed to a halt in construction until soil erosion and sediment runoff concerns could be addressed. DEQ Director David Paylor says the actions taken were not the result of opposition to the pipeline but as a result of the department following the laws and regulations it is mandated to follow. He spoke with WFIR’s Evan Jones:

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Mountain Valley Pipeline project teams have agreed to temporarily suspend pipeline installation in Virginia. DEQ Director David Paylor tells us this comes after issues were discovered during inspections, and he says the suspension is temporary:

Paylor says MVP must enhance and restore controls along the route to ensure proper soil erosion and sediment controls are implemented. DEQ will have to approve those changes before construction is allowed to resume.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia has been halted to address some soil erosion problems. Officials said Friday that the suspension is expected to be temporary for the natural gas pipeline’s installation. Construction will resume with approval from Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ officials said in a statement that the pipeline will direct crews to enhance and restore erosion and sediment controls along the route. Pipeline officials said in a statement that recent heavy rainfall affected crews’ abilities to control erosion. Pipeline officials said they take their “environmental stewardship responsibilities very seriously.” The approximately $3.5 billion, 300-mile pipeline will run through West Virginia and Virginia. It’s scheduled to be in service by the end of the year. A
number of legal challenges against it are pending.

Virginia DEQ News release: Based on issues identified during inspections and complaint inspections by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project team has agreed to temporarily suspend pipeline installation in Virginia. To ensure proper soil erosion and sediment controls are implemented, MVP will direct crews to enhance and restore controls along the pipeline route.

All related construction activities within the project’s right of way (a 125-foot wide construction corridor) will resume only after MVP receives approval by DEQ. A list of investigated sites is available on the DEQ website ( DEQ inspectors will continue to be on site to monitor and review pipeline construction throughout the project.

The public is welcome to email complaints to or submit pollution reports on the DEQ website at Public comments, complaints and concerns will be investigated as DEQ receives them.

Mountain Valley Pipeline statement: “Since inception of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, the MVP team has been closely coordinating with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) to ensure appropriate soil erosion and sediment controls were implemented, and restored where necessary, along the pipeline route. After direct consultation with VDEQ, and in light of the recent extraordinary rainfall experienced in Virginia, we have agreed to temporarily suspend pipeline installation activities, including welding, trenching, and stringing of pipe, in Virginia. The MVP project team takes its environmental stewardship responsibilities very seriously and wants to redirect its work efforts to focus exclusively on erosion controls affected by recent weather events. As the controls are enhanced and restored at given points along the route, MVP will continue to coordinate with VDEQ to resume full pipeline construction activities in those areas.”

Photo: Appalachians Against Pipelines

BRUSH MOUNTAIN, Va. (AP) – A Virginia Tech professor who locked herself to a piece of construction equipment to protest the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been removed and arrested. The Roanoke Times quotes Virginia State Police Sgt. Rick Garletts as saying Emily Satterwhite will likely be charged with trespassing. The Appalachian studies professor tied herself to a piece of equipment 20 feet above the ground Thursday morning on Brush Mountain in Montgomery County.
Police on cherry pickers cut her free Thursday night. Satterwhite waved to about 30 people gathered near the John Deere excavator as she descended and was met with cheers. Rick Garletts says Satterwhite was jailed after being checked by rescue workers. She had been warned that not voluntarily descending would end in her arrest. She said she would face the consequences.

PREVIOUS: (AP) _ A Virginia Tech professor has climbed atop a piece of construction equipment involved in work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline and locked herself to it. The Roanoke Times reports Emily Satterwhite took up her position on an excavator early Thursday on Brush Mountain in Montgomery County. Satterwhite teaches Appalachian studies and has been active in pipeline protests. State police, sheriff’s deputies and officials with the pipeline and the U.S. Forest Service arrived at the scene. According to the newspaper, they advised Satterwhite she would be arrested if she did not come down voluntarily. She responded that she was willing to face the consequences. Satterwhite’s demonstration is the latest direct action protesters have taken against the multistate natural gas pipeline. Earlier this year, a number of opponents stationed themselves in trees along the route.

UPDATE: Roanoke County police and fire officials say the man found dead in a house fire earlier this week took his own life. The fire was reported Tuesday morning on Mount Gordon Road in the Hanging Rock area. Under the circumstances, police are not releasing the man’s name or any further details.

PREVIOUS from Roanoke County Fire & Rescue: Roanoke County Police conducted a joint investigation with the Fire Marshal’s Office following the fire that broke out early this morning on Mount Gordon Road. The body of a 25-year-old male was discovered in a second-floor bedroom where the fire originated. Police and Fire Marshals do not suspect foul play. The flames were contained to the bedroom of origin, but there was smoke damage to the rest of the second floor. Damage estimates are figured at $15,000. The investigation is ongoing.

An almost-full auditorium at the Grandin Theatre last night, for a screening of “Little Pink House” about the infamous Kelo versus City of New London eminent domain case that went to the Supreme Court in 2005. An attorney representing the Terrys who was also on hand for the movie and a panel discussion that followed says the national non-profit law firm Institute for Justice is looking at MVP and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for possible further legal action. Minor Terry was there last night – she and her mother “Red” protested the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement on their Bent Mountain property by tree-sitting for over a month: