One tree-sitter to descend after week defending people from blasting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY
August 31st, 2009

Contact: Charles Suggs
304-854-7372

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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