BECKLEY (AP) — An environmental activist will spend seven days in jail for a tree-sitting strip mining protest at an Alpha Natural Resources operation in southern West Virginia.
Catherine-Ann MacDougal pleaded no contest to trespassing Thursday in Raleigh County magistrate court.
MacDougal participated in a protest at the Bee Tree mine near Marfork last summer. She climbed a tree on July 20 and descended Aug. 18.
MacDougal tells The Register-Herald that she pleaded no contest because standing trial would have cost thousands of dollars in legal expenses. She says the experience has strengthened her conviction to work to stop mountaintop removal mining.
Virginia-based Alpha is suing MacDougal and three other activists who participated in the protest.
MacDougal’s attorney, Larry Hildes, says a trial is set for Jan. 14, 2013, in federal court.