Catherine-Ann is still going strong after 25 days. She says “The more time goes by, the fainter grows my desire for the luxuries of the ground, and the more comfortable i become with this peaceful, contemplative life in a tree.”
She is enjoying all the creatures she has seen! Yesterday she was once again graced with the presence of another black bear. Also, the tree mouse that had been crawling all over Becks made a nest in Catherine-Ann’s bag of toilet paper. But don’t worry, she’s got enough and doesn’t mind sharing!
She told us that she had a fever and was feeling pretty tired, but after drinking lots of water and getting lots of rest, she has recuperated and is feeling better than ever! She continues to stay hydrated and stay dry through the multiple summer thunderstorms.
She says the security is still just as nice and she has adjusted to the decreased solitude. On day 23, she awoke to security telling her they would remain directly below her tree from then on. They moved in their camp, which included a generator, lights and an orange fence around the area and have remained there day and night. Every day Alpha spends more time and money stringing up lights, running extension cords downhill, and setting up a station for the security guards. Alpha’s camp set-up is for the security’s safety, unlike Massey’s use of these items as means of harassment during previous tree sits. “They have only been civil and polite – completely different from what people were experiencing before,” Catherine Ann says “It is important to remember that on the face of it, it looks different but that it is a superficial difference. I hope that people will see that destruction wearing a nice face is still destruction.” Becks adds “Although they are being very kind and I think there is definitely more hope in working with them than with Massey, they are still poisoning people. They are still doing Mountaintop Removal. So while they are nice to activists they continue to destroy communities.”
During this tree sit to demand an end to strip mining on Coal River Mountain, RAMPS Campaign members organized and attended a meeting between Alpha Natural Resources senior management and residents of coal-impacted communities.
Alpha’s willingness to sit down with RAMPS and local residents is another example of the very different tactics that have been used to address the same community concerns over destructive strip mining practices. Paul Corbit-Brown of Pax, W.Va., attended the meeting and he is hopeful that these meetings will provide a path forward to mitigate some of the impacts of mountaintop removal mining on communities: “If these talks will create more livable conditions in the communities that are so terribly impacted, it will be hugely important.” Alpha Natural Resources expressed that they would continue mountaintop removal mining as long as the practice is legal and economic. Corbit-Brown notes, “We told them that, as long as you keep mining, we’ll continue to fight it. Catherine-Ann is continuing to fight it. So we’re both doing what we promised to do.”