[Blockade enters second week. Get the background story here]
Gifford Pinchot, the Pennsylvania tree-sitter that is blockading the route of the Tennessee Pipeline from logging, stays strong and gives us this update from the trees:
“Right now there is a march going on across the Delaware River to stop the pipeline. I wish I could join but I’m afraid that those trees around me wouldn’t still be standing when I returned. It’s wet and rainy and there are no chain saws that I can hear, but I know they are running somewhere and so the fight must continue. Tennessee Gas may not care about these hills and this community, the state and national government may not care, but we care and people who are being poisoned by the gas industry, forced to sell their homes and relocate or live next to the destruction wrought in the name of profits only the executives will see. Looking out there is a line of fallen trees going up the hill as far as the eye can see, all done within a day’s work. This 150 foot buffer zone clearcut to make way for one 24 inch pipe. Our state tree, the hemlock, threatened by beetles and gas companies. What will be the state of our forests, our water, our air, and our health, when we finally wake up and realize what we are allowing to happen. …Thanks for all the support, keep fighting, let’s stop this pipeline.”
Pinchot is still in the tree stand as tree crews cut toward him. No tree crews have showed up on the Pike County side of the clearing project yet this morning, and activists are prepared to call OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) if loggers attempt to complete the steep slope above Cummins Hill Road. This is where there are about 200 yards of trees left before the road. Workers have currently cut up to the road, but have not crossed it, and there are two stands of trees left to clear before the road. Both of these stands are difficult cuts to make. Many Cummins Hill Rd residents are opposed to this pipeline project.
Milford resident Alex Lotorto says “Having done tree work as a grounds technician and as a union delegate for the IWW, I am first and foremost concerned about these workers’ safety. They are my union brothers and although their job threatens our livelihoods, our highest goal in this campaign is safety for everyone. I want TGP to treat these contractors with the respect every working person deserves.”
These actions are part of a campaign opposing the Tennessee Pipeline in the Delaware River Basin. The direct action campaign is taking place after nearly two years of local political leaders and grassroots opposition in the courts, public comment, and protest.
From the front lines of the resistance in Pennsylvania comes a message of hope and inspiration regarding the past week in our movement:
“Tens of thousands of people came together [in DC] for the largest environmental protest in US history! There have been multiple successful actions against extractive industries! Congratulations everyone I think we just leveled up as a movement! This all helps me imagine a world where tens of thousands of people are standing together against whatever threatens the planet or those who live on it.”
Check out Stop the Tennessee Pipeline to follow this campaign!