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Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline opponents meet with Native American elder in Lancaster County, discuss protests

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LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- A group of activists met in Lancaster County to talk with a woman about her experiences in protesting pipelines. They met at the Lancaster Stand, an encampment in Conestoga, formed by a group of people who oppose the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.

A group of people who starkly oppose the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project talked with Regina Brave, a well-known pipeline protester. She had a message for those who oppose the pipeline in their backyards.

"I mean this is a peaceful, spiritual gathering, and people who believe that these pipelines shouldn't go through, and everybody was targeted," said Regina Brave, a Lakota Sioux Indian Elder.

She's known for protesting the North Dakota pipeline and for her presence at the Wounded Knee, 1973, standoff. She spoke with people against the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline at the Stand in Lancaster County. A few days ago, Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster County) held an event with law enforcement in Lancaster, geared at prepping them for potential protests - something some protesters did not appreciate.

"In our opinions, it had nothing to do with preparing law enforcement for what could happen. We're never going to have 10,000 people here. You guys are here. We maybe have 200 spots to park," said Tim Spiese. "They want to label us as protesters, as agitators. My name is Tim Spiese. I'm a construction worker."

"Those are the kind of things that never made it to the news. The peaceful attitude that we have in camp," said Brave about the protests she attended.

The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline will carry natural gas through more than 30 miles of pipes in Lancaster County, and according to Nancy Jeffries, right in her backyard.

"We're in the vaporization zone which means if the pipeline explodes, we have zero chance at escaping, the house will be vaporized," said Jeffries. She's a doctor in the area.

Beyond personal property, some neighbors, like Robin Maguire, worry about what the pipeline project will mean for Native American sites, like the Lancaster Stand, and the farmland in the county.

"The history is everywhere here," said Maguire. "We can't have this destroyed, and that's what this pipeline is going to do."

Though the federal government approved the pipeline, opponents at the stand say they're prepared to peacefully protect the land.

The pipeline project, by Williams Transco, is slated to begin sometime this summer. According to Williams, the Lancaster County region of the pipeline is just a part of the country's most active natural gas production area, accounting for 89% of the nation's total growth in natural gas production.