NAU student 'tree-sitting' to protest water pipeline to Snowbowl

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James Kennedy has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas James Kennedy has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas
James Kennedy has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas James Kennedy has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas
A Northern Arizona University student has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas A Northern Arizona University student has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff. By Jennifer Thomas
James Kennedy has been sitting in a tree that's in the path of the pipeline project. The ropes holding him up are attached to other trees as well as the machinery crews use to build the line. By Jennifer Thomas James Kennedy has been sitting in a tree that's in the path of the pipeline project. The ropes holding him up are attached to other trees as well as the machinery crews use to build the line. By Jennifer Thomas
James Kennedy has been sitting in a tree that's in the path of the pipeline project. The ropes holding him up are attached to other trees as well as the machinery crews use to build the line. By Jennifer Thomas James Kennedy has been sitting in a tree that's in the path of the pipeline project. The ropes holding him up are attached to other trees as well as the machinery crews use to build the line. By Jennifer Thomas

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A Northern Arizona University student has made a tree his new temporary home to halt the construction of a 14-mile pipeline near Flagstaff.

On Monday, James Kennedy began tree-sitting in a 75-foot-tall Ponderosa pine tree on the property of Lowell Observatory to prevent the construction of the pipeline that would take reclaimed wastewater from Flagstaff to Arizona Snowbowl.

Snowbowl wants to use the treated water to make snow. Kennedy and his group believe it is unsafe to use.

"For the purity of our water, for the safety of our community, and for the health of a fragile alpine ecosystem, we must halt this pipeline!" he said.

Kennedy has been sitting in a tree that's in the path of the project. The ropes holding him up are attached to other trees as well as the machinery that crews use to build the line.

Kennedy secured himself to trench-digging equipment with a "lifeline" that, if moved, would threaten his life, according to his ground crew.

"Today was nothing short of amazing, I think we have sent a clear message on the urgency of protecting our communities and environment," Kennedy said. "I am not sure how a city that sells millions of gallons of water to corporate interests will respond, but with so much recent research indicating the dangers of contact with wastewater, I am optimistic. I will be here until I see tangible results to the listed demands, however long it takes until this rigging is unsafe to use."

Flagstaff police Sgt. James Jackson said trespassing charges will be filed once the suspect is apprehended.

This is not the first protest of the pipeline. Other groups have protested against using reclaimed water for making snow because it desecrates sacred land. In the past, some protesters chained themselves to heavy equipment and others chained themselves together to block the road leading to the ski resort.