Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Firsthand Accounts of Day 3's Tree Sit Adventures

Gifford Pinchot holds fast in the trees, even with loggers cutting as close to 100' from his post.

Foreward: All of this will be even better if you or anyone know you know is able to donate to the Anti-Fracking Bail Fund, to ensure future actions will be well supported!

Posted on behalf of Crabgrass and Alex, who are resting...

"Today marked the first day of a full time tree sit to stop the highly controversial Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a very good friend, Gifford ascended 45 feet high on a platform to show his dedication.

With safety being our number one concern with something of this magnitude, I was there as direct support to make sure Gifford's well being was respected and to provide emotional support.

Sometime after 8am we were met by a two man crew of survey people, they then called their higher ups and an hour or so later a nice gentleman named Mike was on scene. We were very forthcoming with our intentions to keep everyone safe and to provide answers to any pressing questions he had.  He informed us that at that time he would be contacting the local authorities (something to be expected).

Two more hours go by, sitting by the fire before we encountered an Officer.  We made it clear to him that our comrade would not be coming down from his perch and why we were actually there. The officer and his partner instructed us to gather our things and to be escorted out of the woods to be picked up by someone.  The two officers led us through the clear-cut section of the forest and led us to I-84, where we were put in handcuffs and taken to the station for a full booking process including fingerprinting and picture taking.  In reality the officer was only accusing us of trespass, informing us that if we were seen on the property again our charges will be upgraded to misdemeanor which amounts to a speeding ticket.  During our booking, two security members related with the industry were present and we could hear them talking negatively about us and Gifford who was [and is still] in the trees.

They wanted to send a message.  What they wanted was for myself and the other individual working direct support to be scared.  They did the direct opposite.  My experiences today proved to me that our actions are not only justified at this time they are our only option.

To all the people who recognize us in town and show their support y'all are awesome you are the reason we are taking time out of our lives to commit to this campaign and your kind words really resonate.  But, I want to make it clear that my arrest isn't that awe inspiring, the fact that our friend is cut off from us is something that has been my major concern since the second I stepped off the encampment. He's the one who is putting it all on the line right now and he needs your support.

Please if you have the means go to and contact us in regards to a donation.

We need:
  • Bail money
  • Medical Supplies
  • Vegan food (no meats, dairy or cheese)
  • Warm articles of clothing
  • Camping gear
  • Cooking gear
  • Climbing rope
  • Love and support and above all good vibes.

We can win this, I know we will.

Love and solidarity forever.

-Crabgrass <3"

Alex Lotorto and Cornelia Pinchot visited the blockade at the Delaware State Forest gate today to find no workers or activity. The slash pile, boulders, banner, and red tape are still in good shape. We will be monitoring this access road for activity each day.

From yesterday, activists and local residents lock down at the forest gate to block truck access to tree clearing.

"After the banner drop on the I-84 overpass at the foot of Cummins Hill Rd, Cornelia Pinchot and I went and visited the Delaware State Forest blockade which is still standing strong with a slash pile of sticks, logs, and boulders preventing the gate from opening. After seeing that TGP wasn't going to be using that road today, we attended the Pike County Commissioners meeting at 9AM where I thanked them for their letters to the Delaware River Basin Commission in opposition to Loop 323 and informed them of the tree sit. They grinned at me and we understood each other. 

Following the meeting, Cornelia and I brought our local Channel 13 cable access news reporters to the top of Pine Hill Farm Rd where a local Eastern Pike Police officer had escorted out our Emergency Medical Technician from the tree sit and we were able to do a number of interviews. I found the lost WBRE-Scranton reporters driving around the twisting mountain roads and led them back to Pine Hill Farm Rd where they did a short interview with me, but were unwilling to attempt the hour-plus hike into the woods to the tree sit in their nice shoes and with limited time.

I got word of the arrests of the tree sit's direct support team, who got escorted out along the clearcut right of way to Foster Hill Rd. I drove down to the Matamoras police station where I found the surveillance team from TGP that's been photographing us since Monday. They were shocked to see me because they were convinced that I was the guy in the tree sit.

They asked, "How'd you get down here so fast?"

Not one more tree, not one more pipeline. The trees cut along Foster Hill Rd.
I replied, "We grew up here and we know our way around. We're everywhere and we see everything you're doing. You staying warm?"

"Warmer than you were this morning," they said.

"Actually, I'm doing fine. I'm a deer hunter. Spending days sitting in the cold woods is what I do for fun."

That was the end of that.

After that exchange, the two direct support for the tree sit were released with a citation for trespass, which yields a fine.

With no one left in the woods with Gifford Pinchot atop his 45-foot tree stand, I focused the rest of the day on figuring out how to get support to him, which we did, but I can't tell you how :)

Finally, I made my way home, where folks were regrouping in my dining room and a very thankful local resident brought us dinner from Fretta's Italian Deli in Milford which was delicious! I'm excited about the rest of this week, especially the vigil on Friday at 5pm and the march from Milford to Montague on Saturday at noon, both starting at the light in Milford (Intersection of Harford and Broad Streets).

Now it's time to settle down and catch up on my consulting work, which includes counsel for someone who is appealing a Mountain Gathering LLC (Exxon Mobil) pipeline compressor station in Columbia County, PA.

If folks feel like they'd like to plug in supporting our direct actions, planning out legal/family friendly rallies, or doing violations monitoring along the construction, please feel free to contact me 570-269-9589.


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