MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2009
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

Tree Sit Day 6:One Tree-Sitter to Descend After Week Defending People from Blasting

After a week of defending people in the Coal River Valley and enduring sleep deprivation tactics at the hands of Massey security, tree-sitter Nick Stocks is descending and turning himself in to the WV State Police. tree sit Tree-sitter Laura Steepleton plans to stay put with no immediate plans to leave. The tree-sit above the Coal River Valley has gotten a lot of media attention and even garnered public comments from Massey CEO Don Blankenship (who has flown over the tree-sit twice in his black helicopter). In a few weeks, the EPA will be reviewing 86 new mountaintop removal permits. That equals 86 less mountains all over Appalachia. The tree sitters have been defending one mountain and affecting one permit. The pressure and attention on this issue needs to escalate dramatically. This non-violent direct action has intervened at the point of destruction, and now Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice are calling for more support to continue this campaign. All over Appalachia groups are calling for support. Here's one way to support. Here are some things you can do to support Climate Ground Zero's action campaign: 1. Move to West Virginia and join the action campaign. We will feed and house you. Besides direct action participants, we welcome: trained medics and medical professionals, kitchen help, climbers, gardeners, video/photographers and journalists, organizers, hellraisers, back country explorers, orienteers, law students and professionals, computer programmers, scientists, eager-learners and hard workers. 2. Visit West Virginia and join the action campaign. We will feed and house you. 3. Sign this petition asking the WV Department of Environmental Protection to shut down the Edwight mountaintop removal site for the 33 violations in the past five years. 4. We need to keep up the pressure, and need your support to do so. From those of you who are unable to join the campaign in person, we love monetary donations.
One tree-sitter to descend after week defending people from blasting PETTRY BOTTOM, W.Va. After six full days in an 80-foot-tall poplar tree, Nick Stocks will voluntarily come down at 10:00 a.m. today. Since Tuesday morning, Stocks has been living on a platform 30 feet from Massey Energy's Edwight Surface Mine, preventing further blasting over the community of Pettry Bottom. Stocks will turn himself immediately over to the State Police. Fellow tree sitter Laura Steepleton remains in a neighboring tree with no immediate plans to come down. Stocks stated To this day the DEP has acted as a thin, weak delegate for big coal in West Virginia. They have circumvented, sidestepped, dismissed and lied to communities and individuals who look to them for protections that ought to assure healthy children, safe drinking water and a continued existence in the valley. To this day they have not done their job to even the slightest degree. When the government fails in its obligation to protect its people and communities are made unsafe and unlivable, it is the responsibility of all concerned people to turn attention to that failure and do all in their capacity to ensure the safety of the community. If the DEP doesn't do it, we must do it ourselves, and we will go beyond. We will stop the devastation of this mountain and protect the communities below. We will end mountaintop removal. Stocks and Steepleton have endured 24-hour sleep deprivation tactics and the brandishing of a chainsaw. All day and all night Massey security personnel have flashed bright lights, sounded air horns, and banged loudly on metal buckets in an effort to prevent the tree sitters from getting any sleep. The security guards' actions with the lights and air horns are making the situation less safe, Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice volunteer Charles Suggs said. Depriving sleep from people who have to maintain safety systems to prevent a fatal fall endangers their lives. More details at: www.climategroundzero.org

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