Hanging on to Hope

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Two tree sitters have forced Massey Energy to cancel blasts on the the Edwight mountaintop removal mine above Pettry Bottom, West Virginia. The protesters maintain that they will not abandon their treetop platforms until Massey Energy commits to ending blasting above Pettry Bottom and Peachtree, pays the full healthcare and property repair costs for Pettry Bottom and Peachtree residents, and the Federal Office of Surface Mining commits to the full reclamation of the Edwight mine site.

Mine security called state police to the scene shortly after noon on Tuesday, at which point they arrested the two ground support members for the tree-sitters.

State police site the tree sitter’s safety as a primary concern as the occupation continues. However, according Climate Ground Zero the tree sitters understand their knots and safety systems, and they’re putting safety first. They’re remaining tied to a safety system at all times.

“If they are worried about the safety of the two tree sitters, they are worrying about the wrong people. What about the 230 little kids at Marsh Fork Elementary School? Those are the ones we need to worry about,” said local resident and celebrated activist Ed Wiley. Marsh Fork Elementary School is situated under a 2.9-billion-gallon sludge pond and mountaintop removal site. The school is a lightning rod of controversy over mountaintop removal and Massey Energy. “Massey is recklessly endangering those kids, and the folks at Pettry Bottom. I’m glad those tree sitters are getting in their way,” continued Wiley.

The tree-sitters have entered their fourth day of the vigil without any supplies from the ground. The two arrested ground support members are still in jail with a $1,000 bond each. Miners reportedly have been blasting their horns and flashing lights at them through the night.

For video footage and up-to-date coverage of the tree sit, click here.

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