Before dawn on Sunday, April 8, 2018, Energy Transfer Partners sent work crews onto the Gerharts’ homestead to cut down three trees and a monopod that had been defended since the 2016 tree-clearing. Based on the timing and tactics of this underhanded, cowardly attack, Energy Transfer Partners had invested significant resources in surveilling Camp White Pine, a forest defense camp resisting the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline.
From when Camp White Pine opened, the forest defenders on site had documented surveillance tactics by Energy Transfer Partners and its unscrupled private security contractor, TigerSwan, that included illegal low-flying helicopters, nighttime thermal imaging of the Camp, and sending paid infiltrators in under false names. Evidence suggests that Energy Transfer Partners’ surveillance tactics went even beyond this.
However, Energy Transfer Partners always operates without the ability to imagine the perseverance and dedication of the people who oppose it. Energy Transfer Partners devoted over a year of expensive, underhanded tactics to the goal of clearing these defended trees.
While we mourn these trees, Camp White Pine, the Gerharts, and their supporters across the continent still stand. Not only will defense exist and persist until Energy Transfer Partners’ wanton destruction ends, our goals and foresight extend beyond quarterly earnings. We are inspired by and indebted to the living legacy of the anti-colonial resistance globally to protect our waters and our forests; we hope to inspire more acts of defiance within ourselves and others.
At Camp White Pine we are reminded of the wisdom, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds,” as well as the collective courage and resilience of all life. It is this lack of understanding of our cause that Energy Transfer will not win. Right now little pines are already sprouting from the trees felled at Camp White Pine. As a part of its vision for the long-term future, Camp White Pine plans to distribute seedlings to willing supporters and welcoming land.
Well after our struggle ends and Energy Transfer Partners’ name is wiped from the stock market, the seeds from these trees, whose lives were abruptly ended, will grow.