Category Archives: Citizen Activism

Forest Service Extends Comment Period


The U.S. Forest Service has announced that it will extend the comment period to receive input from the public on the agency’s proposed rule to amend environmental review procedures of projects on Forest Service lands. The new comment deadline is Monday August 26, 2019. The previous comment deadline had been Monday, August 12.

The proposed rule change would effectively eliminate for most projects the opportunity for public input.  The Forest Service is presenting the new rules as “simplifying” their processes, but what it really means is that the Forest Service could do what it wants when it wants, without public oversight or input.

Additional background is in our August 8 post, Urgent Appeal from the Outdoor Alliance.

Please use the Outdoor Alliance Web page and call to action at ourforestsourvoice.org to submit your comments and let your voice be heard!

Urgent Appeal from the Outdoor Alliance


The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to eliminate virtually all public comment on how they manage OUR national forests. This could serve as precedent for other federal agencies and effectively gut the National Environmental Policy Act. We have until August 12 to tell them this is not acceptable. Please go to the Outdoor Alliance’s urgent call to action at ourforestsourvoice.org and let your voice be heard.

Writing in a New York Times opinion piece on August 7, 2019, Sam Evans of the Southern Environmental Law Center says, “The United States Forest Service’s most important job is balancing the many needs and uses of the 193 million acres of public land it manages. But the Trump administration is preparing to abandon the process that makes it possible, eliminating public participation from the overwhelming majority of decisions affecting our national forests. If the Forest Service has its way, visitors won’t know what’s coming until logging trucks show up at their favorite trailheads or a path for a gas pipeline is cleared below a scenic vista. …. Far too often, the Forest Service proposes logging in rare old-growth forests, near sensitive streams, or on steep, fragile slopes. Or it proposes building new roads or permitting pipelines in undeveloped backcountry areas. Under current law, new roads and all but the smallest and least consequential timber sales require, at a minimum, advance public notice and the opportunity for the public to comment and suggest improvements. Most of the time, bad projects are relocated or improved because of public input.”

If this proposal goes through, new clear-cutting and logging projects up to 6.6 square miles in size, pipelines, and massive road-building projects could proceed in the dark – without the input of neighboring landowners, without expert scientific input, and without the input of people who love to hike, fish, hunt, ride horses, paddle and bike throughout the entire 193 million acres of national forests.

Say NO today!

Joshua Vana Sings “To the River” at Yellow Finch Blockade

Message from Joshua Vana:

Y’all, there’s this thing I do sometimes where I go sing and play to folks who are living in trees and meanwhile directly preventing the advance of billion dollar corporations plundering Appalachia.

Yesterday I was at the Yellow Finch Blockade on day 331 of uninterrupted tree sits, saying ‘thank you’ and enjoying the company of the good folks there. I found some time in between the roar of backhoes, all perfectly perched to flip over at any moment on the side of the ridge directly across the road, to play this song I wrote this past spring called “To The River”.

It’s difficult for me to explain witnessing the song play out in real life as it’s sung – but I can say that I rarely feel more grounded and alive than when I’m with so many others who are risking something – anything – time, energy, money, safety, hope, to maintain a future we can thrive in (or simply survive in).

One of the things I can offer to the world, to a decent society, in times of struggle (though there seem to be quite a few these days, and multiplying) is music. It’s important for communities to tell their own story of resistance and I think this tune is in that greater songbook somewhere.

There are some fires burning in Appalachia that we’d like to keep lit. Some of ’em are being cared for by Appalachians Against Pipelines. I’d like to encourage you to look into this little corner of a greater movement for water protection and community defense and maybe consider supporting them at bit.ly/supportmvpresistance. They’d appreciate any help you might be able to offer, and so would the folks who’ve been fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline for five long years.

Thanks for reading, listening – and for those ‘in between’, you know who you are.

Swarm the Mountain: A Weekend of Action for Yellow Finch

Swarm the Mountain: A Weekend of Action for Yellow Finch. Aug 1 at 6 PM – Aug 4 at 6 PM, 10303 Russwood Rd, Bent Mountain, VA 24059-2321. Hosted by Preserve Floyd and 11 others.

Swarm the Mountain events in Bent Mountain are on the Mountain Valley Pipeline route and close to the ongoing tree sits.

THURSDAY August 1, 2019
6-9 PM: Dance Party for the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, Lobo Marino, Poetry Jam and more! Wear yellow and black and your dancing shoes. Flag and banner making, potluck offerings welcome.

FRIDAY August 2, 2019
10 AM: Flower March for Yellow Finch. Bring flowers and love notes for the tree people! Wear yellow and black. Starting point tba.
5 PM: Flyer the Floyd Jamboree! Wear yellow and black and swarm the streets with flyers about our amazing People’s Pizza Party.

SATURDAY August 3, 2019
People’s Pizza Party: A Fundraiser for Finch!
If you have farm fresh veggies, bring them and add them to your wood-fired pizza!
5-10 PM: Open Mic and dance party jam; bring your instruments and celebrate!

SUNDAY August 4, 2019
10 AM-2 PM: Solidarity at the Sits: Visit Yellow Finch and support the sitters: shuttle service
2-5 PM: Citizen Voices Radio Show. Story sharing from the MVP grassroots with the Richmond Resistance. Tell your MVP resistance story on the radio!
5-6 PM: Water blessing, closing ceremony.

Come Camp with us!!
-One night or many nights!
-Water available on site
-Leave no trace! Pack it in/ pack it out
– Bring a plate, cup and Utensils

All of these events are Rain or shine. The land that is hosting the events has a Barn where we can gather in a covered area if needed.

Questions? Feel free to ask!

Do I have to come to all of the events?
-No, You come to whatever inspires you.

What if I have an idea for a support event?
– Amazing! please share with others and see if you can get a group together to manifest your dreams.

Does this cost money?
-No, but if you would like to donate, I’m sure we can find a good use for extra money.

Is this taking place at the sits?
– No, Camping and events will take place on private land in Bent mountain (the address listed in the event location tab)
There will be optional visits to the sits throughout the weekend.

What should I wear?
– make sure you are prepared for the weather, whatever it may be. Wear Yellow and Black if you can. We will have stencils for printing on extra items of clothing!

How else can I support?
– Share our social media posts
– Bring some food to share
– Make some art
– There are so many different ways to support, get creative.

See https://www.facebook.com/events/698334687300548/

Legal Observer Training

Attorney Kai Memmer, a volunteer for the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild, will train attendees to become Legal Observers. Legal Observers are needed immediately in the Elliston VA area and other areas along the Mountain Valley Pipeline route to monitor and document interactions between police and protesters. The presence of Legal Observers serves to de-escalate tensions on both sides, and is a vital, neutral information gathering tool.

Volunteers are needed for any amount of time. Information on the National Lawyer’s Guild and the Legal Observer program: https://www.nlg.org/our-work/

Monday, Aug. 5 at 6pm at Rockfish Valley Community Center, 190 Rockfish School Ln, Afton 22920.

Questions? drkinva@yahoo.com

Hands Across the Appalachian Trail


SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 11 AM – 1 PM, Humpback Rocks Visitor’s Center and Picnic Area, Milepost 5.8, Blue Ridge Parkway, Lyndhurst, VA 22952. Hosted by Sierra Club Virginia Chapter

Join your friends and neighbors at the Fourth Annual Hands Across the Appalachian Trail! Be part of this special weekend of events across the state on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, as we work to protect our communities, water, air, land and natural treasures from the threats posed by unneeded and harmful fracked gas pipelines.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines propose to cross several nationally known and highly popular public recreational areas including the George Washington National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Eastern Trail, and – the iconic Appalachian Trail. The dedicated work of volunteers, community groups, allies, legal advocates and individuals has led to Stop Work Orders and further delays of the pipelines, and the efforts to stop these fracked-gas project continues.

The Hands Across the Appalachian Trail events features the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s vision to “connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.” Come celebrate the Appalachian Trail, meet others working to protect it and enjoy food, music, and speakers!

The Saturday, September 28 event will take place at:
Humpback Rocks Visitors Center/Augusta County: Humpback Rocks Visitor’s Center and Picnic Area, Milepost 5.8, Blue Ridge Parkway, Lyndhurst, VA 22952

For more information contact:
Jessica Sims:
jessica.sims@sierraclub.org 804-366-0745
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, September 28!

Other Hands Across the Appalachian Trail events:

Saturday, September 28, 11am-1pm
Giles County/Pearisburg: Route 100 intersection with Appalachian Trail (Trailhead), 2030 Narrows Road, Pearisburg, VA 24134 (Bluff City)

Sunday, September 29, 11am-1pm
Bears Den, 18393 Blue Ridge Mountain Road, Bluemont, VA 20135