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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 11: RAMPS Tree-Sit Continues on Coal River Mountain

RAMPS Tree-Sit Continues on Coal River Mountain

Today is Day 11 of the ongoing tree-sit on Coal River Mountain -- making it now the longest tree-sit in West Virginia history.  Becks Kolins and Catherine-Ann MacDougal remain in their trees 80 feet off the ground on the Bee Tree permit, the only active strip mining permit on Coal River Mountain.  Their direct supporters, Eli Schewel and Junior Walk, were arrested on the first day of the treesit and released on bail that same evening.  Becks and Catherine-Ann remain in high spirits, despite the 100+ degree heat and are determined to continue sitting in their trees and halting blasting on the mine site as long as they can.

I do this out of passion, and I do it out of love. I do it as an act of anger and of penance. I do it out of obligation and out of freedom.” -- Catherine-Ann MacDougal.  Read the full statements written by Catherine-Ann, Becks, Junior, and Eli on why they feel like direct action is a necessary response to the public health crisis, political corruption, and regulatory failure caused by the coal industry in central Appalachia.  Click here for video footage from interviews with the tree-sitters and their support team.

The sit has successfully halted blasting on portions of the site, aside from a small blast last Friday afternoon.  Until this past Wednesday, trucks were still hauling coal that had previously been extracted and stockpiled; now, even this work has ceased.

The sitters expressed solidarity with Tim DeChristopher, a West Virginia native who was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for peacefully disrupting an illegitimate oil and gas auction and saving tens of thousands of acres of public land from oil and gas exploitation.Prior to his sentencing, DeChristopher expressed his strong support for the tree sitters.  From the trees, Becks wrote, “Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years. Please support him and all those who suffer to bring justice to us all.

We thank the multitude of people across the country that have expressed their unwavering support for the tree sitters.  Please be assured that these words of encouragement are being passed on to the young people in the trees, and will be ever more necessary with each passing day they spend sitting and sweating in the muggy West Virginia heat.

Please help us spread the word about these courageous young people who have chosen to take a stand for mountains and communities.   Our website is frequently updated with news from the treesit, and you can also follow us on twitter at RAMPSWV.  You can also support the treesit by submitting comments opposing the renewal of the Bee Tree Permit.

Please consider donating to the RAMPS general fund.  We need money to keep this treesit going for as long as possible -- your donation will help us operate our base camp and provide support to tree sitters.  Information on how to donate:

Thank you for your continued support!

The RAMPS Campaign
Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival

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