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Judge fines couple who allowed tree-sitters on farm

ROANOKE (AP) A federal judge has found a Virginia couple who own a farm in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in contempt of court after protesters took to trees on their property.

U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon determined May 15 that Carolyn and Ian Reilly took both passive and active steps to support the tree-sitters’ goal of blocking pipeline construction,The Roanoke Times reported.

The Reillys were fined $1,000 each.

Tt was not immediately clear whether the penalties would force the removal of a lone tree-sitter, the newspaper reported. Two other protesters came down voluntarily while the legal dispute played out.

Terry Frank, an attorney for the Reillys, declined comment.

Tree-sitters have popped up along the pipeline’s route in West Virginia and Virginia.

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