Wild birds and mammals who have recovered from critical injuries and spent sometimes months in care spend the final weeks of rehabilitation in the safety, quiet and natural environment outside the hospital, where large trees and dense undergrowth at the front of the Sanctuary shield them from traffic noise and potential harm from people passing by on the road that runs in front of the Sanctuary. This peace, quiet and safety is threatened with destruction by American Transmission Co. (ATC), which wants to save time and money by cutting everything down once and for all in a 450 foot long path along the front of the Sanctuary—rather than trimming the trees every few years and letting them stand, as has been done since 1970.
If we cannot save the trees and vegetation in the easement, the outdoor flights and habitats will not be safe for wildlife and will become unusable. Other wildlife facilities have had their permanent education animals stolen and have had wildlife in care injured or killed, which is why we have done everything we can to create a visual and sound barrier for the Sanctuary where wildlife are housed prior to release.
Thanks to the support of our community and people nationwide who have signed our online petition, on July 29, 2016 Fellow Mortals’ rehabilitators were present in Court to hear the Judge grant our request for an injunction to stop American Transmission Co. (ATC) from clear cutting the trees and vegetation from the utilities easement.
American Transmission Co. (ATC) had asked the Judge to dismiss Fellow Mortals’ request for a temporary restraining order, but the Judge ruled in our favor, and we were allowed to move to a hearing on the evidence.
The Temporary Restraining Order will stand for 90 days.
Our attorneys were wonderful and this achievement was not anticipated by ATC. The hearing was attended by over 50 supporters, who packed the courtroom, and wore badges that said “Battered, Bruised but Unbroken.”
On August 10, a scheduling conference and bond hearing was held. ATC requested a $1,100,000 bond of Fellow Mortals. The Judge entered a bond for $108,000. A four-day trial is set to begin October 10.
ATC wants to make sure they are protected if anything happens while the injunction is in place, and continue to mention “FIRE.” You may remember that Fellow Mortals received a phone call threatening fire, that Sal Dimiceli, long-time supporter of Fellow Mortals and founder of the charity A Time is Now to Help (www.thetimeisnowtohelp.org) received a phone call threatening Fellow Mortals’ animals if we did not go along with ATC’s demands—and that an ATC employee brought up fire on the stand when he was being questioned in front of the Judge on July 29.
While we have had three victories, we have a long way to go to win and ATC is going to do everything they can to try to stop us. We feel confident we can prevail and set a precedent that will help others who face similar battles in the future, but we need your help.
The community support we have received locally, regionally and beyond has been what is keeping us strong. We are so very grateful for each and every one of the 85,000 people who has taken the time to sign our petition, make a donation or say a prayer. We have raised $20,000 for legal fees so far, but we need to raise much more.
American Transmission Co. (ATC) will fight hard to defeat Fellow Mortals, because they know that if we win, it will help others to protect wildlife, wildlife habitat and property rights in the future.
FACTS: Clear-cutting or “vegetation management” to remove “incompatible species” is NOT required by state or federal law. Clear-cutting is a company policy, a company choice—that abuses easements to the detriment of the people who live on the property where transmission lines are placed.
The lines in the easement at Fellow Mortals are 138 kV, relatively low voltage. The lines have not changed since 1970, and the easement for the lines has been maintained by trimming trees for the last 46 years. Experts have told us that reliability and safety of the electric lines can be maintained by continuing trimming as has been done in the past. Clear cutting is not necessary.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not require an Environmental Impact Survey before approving the applicaiton of ATC and other companies to institute their “vegetation management” plan in 2013, stating that it did not anticipate any change from past practice—which was trimming. You can read more here: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/reliability/vegetation-mgt.asp
ATC stated in court that it intends to “remove incompatible vegetation”—that is clear cut—under its 9,440 miles of lines—it just hasn’t gotten to all of them yet. In that case, an Environmental Impact Survey must be performed.
We are coming to you, our supporters, to ask you to consider making a generous one-time gift to Save the Sanctuary that Saves Wildlife. https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/save-the-trees-save-the-sanctuary-fellow-mortals/
A gift to help in this fight will not only help the wild animals who are currently at Fellow Mortals; it will help those who need us in years to come—and, very importantly, your gift will help us set a precedent that can be used to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat nationwide when the case is cited as a precedent in the future.