Coal River Tree-sitter Sentenced To 7 Days In Jail


Direct action is not as glamorous as many would have you believe. Days, weeks or year in jail or prison is not easy.  But fighting to save precious land and communities is damn motivating.

Yesterday, Coal River Mountain tree-sitter Catherine-Ann was sentenced to seven days in a West Virginia regional jail.

Her crime?

She stood up to King Coal to defend the mountain and stop mountaintop removal.

Last summer, she sat, along with Becks Collins, in the tree to stop the blasting for a month before coming down.  Their banners read “Stop Strip Mining” and “For Judy Bonds.” Judy Bonds was a West Virginia native and Goldman Prize winner who fought mountaintop removal until her death in Jan. 2011.

Alpha Natural Resources, who acquired the notorious Massey Energy in a takeover last year, found the pair of tree-sitters near the Bee Tree mine site on Coal River Mountain and tried to deal with the sitters more civilly than Massey had.  While Alpha didn’t use sound and light harassment techniques seen in previous years, they have filed civil suits against the sitters and the support team.

Month long tree sit. Jail time. Lawsuits. Quite the price in physical, emotional, mental and financial capital. So this begs the same question I’ve been asking for year’s now- “How far would you go to save a place you love?

My friend Tim DeChristopher is spending two years in federal prison after successfully derailing a land auction attempting to sell off pristine Utah wilderness. A number of comrades in Appalachia have done long periods in West Virginia’s jails for fighting mountaintop removal.  I’ve been to jail numerous times (once was a five day stay in a Melbourne Australia jail) for various causes.

The earth and most of the people on it are under attack by wealthy corporations and one-percent. The motivations aren’t hard to find.

She is asking for folks to donate to the Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survivial (RAMPS) legal fund.

If you want to write Catherine-Ann a letter, her jail address is below.

Catherine Ann MacDougal
Southern Regional Jail
1200 Airport Road
Beaver, WV 25813


3 Responses to “Coal River Tree-sitter Sentenced To 7 Days In Jail”

  1. 1 6thextinction Feb 10th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    could not get a link to contribute

  2. 2 Geoffrey Feb 10th, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Well one day another generation of people will appreciate that someone at least felt strongly enough about the Planet to stand up to the Wall Street Terrorists who have not only taken over the global financial world but have also lobbied for Judiciary who will do its bidding in the Courts.

    If it has protected the land in your country that is a bonus but more importantly it has shown those of us who still have an impartial legal system which can recognise right from wrong just how easy that balance is to lose and we can be forewarned about the ways in which citizens can very easily lose control over their daily lives in the name of progress and prosperity.

    Thank you Catherine for speaking on behalf of a dying earth. The sooner the churches convert their messages into ecotheology rather than rampant fundamentalist dogma the sooner more people will come to see that ‘subduing the earth, authored by a scribe in historic times can be interpreted through blue (oceans) and green (trees) movements for which spokespeople will be required.

  3. 3 strangur Feb 11th, 2012 at 3:00 am
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Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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