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Manchin statement on tree-sitters meeting

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Here’s a statement West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin just issued regarding a meeting he had this morning with the folks from Climate Ground Zero regarding concerns about Massey Energy’s response to the anti-mountaintop removal tree sitters:

I want opinions on mountaintop mining to be heard in a respectful, open and lawful dialogue; however, no one person’s right supersedes another’s. The environmentalists this morning told me they admit they are violating the law by trespassing, but they are concerned that countermeasures taken by the property owner are endangering the health and welfare of the demonstrators.

I have asked the State Police and mine safety officials to investigate the tree sitters’ allegations that decibel levels are dangerously high, and we have contacted the county prosecutor’s office to determine if the land owners are in violation of any law.

If the police and prosecutor determine that the law is being broken, I am sure they will pursue that. Even if we disagree, I believe we can walk away respecting each other but everyone – including activists and property owners — must do so within the letter of the law.