RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond police say 19 people were arrested during an anti-pipeline protest outside the headquarters of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Police spokeswoman Chelsea Rarrick says the protesters were arrested for obstructing free passage.

The protesters were calling on the department to deny water quality permits developers are seeking for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines.

Around 40 people gathered on Capitol Square and marched to the DEQ, where they staged a peaceful sit-in until the arrests.

Both proposed projects would start in West Virginia and cross into Virginia. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would continue into North Carolina.

Supporters say they will boost economic development and provide a clean energy alternative. Opponents say they will cause irreparable environmental harm and infringe on property rights.