Fifteen people protesting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave Gov. Cooper's office on Friday.
Greg Yost is with the North Carolina Alliance to Protect our People and the Places We Live, an activist group that formed in 2016 to organize opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Activists occupying Cooper's office last week staged the sit-in in an effort to find out why the state recently approved a necessary water permit for the pipeline, Yost said. The sit-in was also meant to signal that organized resistance will only strengthen if the project moves forward, he said.
"If the governor we voted for to protect us from exactly this kind of thing won't do it, then we the people will do it," Yost said.
If it's built, the roughly $5 billion natural gas pipeline would cross eight counties in Eastern North Carolina. Tree removal for the pipeline's construction has already begun in Robeson and Cumberland Counties, according to a press release from Dominion Energy, one of the leading companies behind the pipeline. The pipeline still needs two state permits and one federal permit before construction can begin in North Carolina.
The sit-in was one of many organized demonstrations against the pipeline held in Raleigh on Friday.