Four Lock Down to Coal Truck on Kanawha County Strip Site

Climate Ground Zero Strikes Again!

QUARRIER, W.Va.- Four protestors locked down to a coal truck entering a mine site in the vicinity of Quarrier and Decota at 7 a.m. this morning. Four other protestors joined them on the Kanawha County site, hanging two banners; one across the haul road and another on the back of the truck. The first banner read “Stop,” the second “Stop Mountaintop Removal.”

The nonviolent protestors intend to remain locked to the coal truck until law enforcement removes them. They have taken this action to highlight the detrimental effects of mountaintop removal mining, including its lack of economic sustainability.

“By blocking this road, we aim to bring attention not only to Appalachia’s disappearing mountains, but also to its disappearing job market,” said Jonathon Irwin, 23.

The highly active site is near Cabin Creek and Paint Creek, an area rich in union history. Continue reading

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Virginian’s Take a Stand on Dumping Mine Waste in Appalachian Streams

Here’s a quick and dirty personal report from the Nation Wide Permit – 21 public hearing held in Big Stone Gap, Va a week ago. The Army Corps of Engineers is taking public comment on their proposal to discontinue the use of this permit, which allows coal companies to receive permits for surface mining and the subsequent dumping of mine waste into valley fills without doing an environmental impact statement or holding public hearings. There is also a video put together by Appalachian Voices. You can still comment on the Army Corp’s proposal here. I’ve pasted some reasons you can mention in your comments for why the NWP-21s should not be used any more.

From the Virginia NWP-Hearing

From the West Virginia NWP-Hearing 

Personal report:

There were probably around 700 people total, at least 500 on the industry side, many with black t-shirts with catchy slogans about how coal wont kill people and stuff. They were intimidating, and at the beginning heckled, booed, and threw stuff at our speakers. But, fairly soon into it all, the Army Corps chair of the meeting put his foot down and said we’re gonna keep it civil while people are speaking, and so it was for the most part after that. 

By the end of the night, the room was pretty close to half industry and half not industry supporters. A lot of us walked away feeling pretty good, even victorious. We had stayed civil and respectable, made solid comments that stayed on topic, in the face of ugliness from folks who talked about lots of things besides whether the Corps should suspend the use of NWP 21s.

It was not the craziness of Charleston or Ky, and sounds something akin to Knoxville. We had peacekeepers with white bandannas, we had food that the volunteer house here in APpalachia cooked for everybody. Kathy Selvage and Pete Ramey took the worst from the industry folks, and by the time the endless stream of Virginia Tech students calling for an abolition of climate changing coal said their piece, many of the miners had left for home.  

 

 

Some points you can make when making comments to the Army Corps of Engineers at their online comment area are:

1. I applaud the Army Corps of Engineers for its proposal to end the use of the one-size-fits-all NWP 21 permit which allows for a streamlined approval of mountaintop removal operations in Appalachia. For decades, mountaintop removal and valleyfills have had a devastating impact on local communities, the economy, and our environment.

2. NWP 21 for permitting mountaintop removal mining should apply to the entire Appalachian region, including northern Alabama. Failure to do so might lead the coal industry to simply relocate operations to those areas with the most lenient permitting process.  
3. No grandfathering of permits should be allowed. Past permits should be reviewed to make sure they meet the spirit and intent of the Clean Water Act.

4. NWP 21 should never have been issued, because filling these streams has more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.

5.  The use of NWP 21 is a violation of the Clean Water Act because it is suppose to be used for activities that produce “no significant environmental impact” and the destruction of entire mountains and mountain ranges cannot be considered an insignificant environmental impact.

6. EPA’s own scientists have determined that mountaintop removal and other surface coal mining activities authorized by NWP 21 are causing cumulatively significant degradation of streams and forests in Appalachia – including the destruction of ecologically valuable headwater streams and the pollution of downstream waters.

7. The Corps has long recognized that “the purpose of the NWP program is to reduce regulatory delays and burdens on the public, to place greater reliance on state and local controls, and to free our limited
resources for more effective regulation of other activities with greater potential to adversely impact the aquatic environment.” 56 Fed. Reg. 14, 598—14, 605 (Apr. 10, 1991).

 Possible points to make about this:

a. Constantly fighting coal companies and failed agencies to protect our homes, lives, water, and communities is a much greater burden on
the public.

b.  We have no state or local controls.  WVDEP is a failed agency that fails to control illegal coal company activity.

c.  Nothing adversely impacts the aquatic environment more than burying it.

8. The impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining are significant and permanent, the ArmyCorps should not issue any additional authorizations under NWP 21 while the agency finalizes the process of modifying the permit to prohibit its use in Appalachia.

9. The way the ACOE conducted these hearings was illegal and some of the public hearings amounted to sanctioned riots which coal supporters attended solely to disrupt. By failing to control the meeting process so that all in attendance had equal opportunity to testify, the Corpsbecame a party to the denial of these first amendment rights. The Corps should reschedule these meetings and conduct them in an orderly fashion that protects the first amendment rights of all citizens.

Update from Coal River Mountain Action

Coal River Valley Residents Declare State of Emergency, Meet with Governor Joe Manchin; Seven Sit-In at Governor’s Office

IMG_5632Coal River Valley residents and supporters associated with Mountain Justice and Climate Ground Zero delivered a letter to Governor’s Manchin’s office in the State Capitol building at 12:15 p.m. today. The statement from Coal River Valley residents calls on Manchin to use his executive powers to halt mountaintop removal mining operations on Coal River Mountain, one of the last intact mountains remaining in the Coal River Valley area.


Governor Manchin met the letter deliverers in the antechamber of his office and spoke with Lorelei Scarbro of Rock Creek and Chuck Nelson of Glen Daniel. As of 2:30 p.m. seven young people are sitting in the antechamber, refusing to leave until Manchin moves to halt MTR on Coal River Mountain or they are forcibly removed. Security guards conveyed to them that they have permission to remain until the close of normal business hours at 5 p.m..

“We are delivering this letter to our governor with residents of the Coal River Valley,” said Miranda Miller and Angela Wiley of Morgantown, W.Va., two of the seven sitters, “We are West Virginia citizens standing in solidarity with the people who submitted comments for this letter, voicing their concerns on the dangers of blasting on Coal River Mountain.
IMG_5831

For years, local residents have expressed their concerns over the long-term health effects of their proximity to coal mining and processing operations, while scientists have stated that it devastates local ecosystems and contaminates groundwater with carcinogens and heavy metals. One of the most imminent dangers associated with the proposed Coal River Mountain operation Continue reading

Coal River Valley Residents Demand Prevention of Blasting Coal River Mountain

save the kidsCoal River Valley Residents Demand Prevention of Blasting Coal River Mountain

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – At noon seven people will deliver a letter of concerns and personal statements regarding Massey Energy’s imminent mountaintop removal coal mining on Coal River Mountain to Joe Manchin at the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion. The deliverers have stated that they will refuse to leave until the letter is received and Manchin agrees to the community’s demands. The letter is signed by 13 residents of the Coal River Valley, at least four of whom will be present at today’s event.

The seven citizens to deliver the document are associated with Mountain Justice and Climate Ground Zero. In addition to Manchin, Coal River Valley residents are sending the document to the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Surface Mining, Mining Safety and Health Administation, WV Department of Environmental Protection, Post-mine Land Use Committee of the W.Va. State Government, Representative Nick Rahall, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Robert Byrd and President Obama. Continue reading

Footage and Comments from Folks On Massey Dragline Protest in Boone Co. Wv yesterday

Also check out mountain action for more updates and information and photographs from the action yesterday. Stay tuned for next weeks action at Marsh Fork with James Hansen and Mountain Justice


I especially want to send this to people who don’t know us personally and so may not be completely sure of our peaceful intentions and excellent preparations, so pls pass on.

First of all, I was there in the protest the whole time acting as “medic” and talked with several workers and police about the man who was ill. (I’m a qualified EMT by the way)

When we first noticed someone was sitting on the ground and being attended to, we had already been detained and were sitting in a group behind the drag line main body where the police cars were. Including the time before the police came and eventually put us into custody, this was already at least two hours from the start of the thing when we approached the machine and it’s workers.

I did my best to observe the man tho he was on the front side in front of the right foot which was up off the ground giving 3-4 feet of view under it. I saw a worker by him apparently checking the man’s vitals. That was the most of the care they gave him over at least an hour’s time, as far as I could tell.

I asked several workers over that time what happened to him and was told at least twice by different workers that he had had a stroke in February and wasn’t feeling good. I asked one of the sheriff’s about him and offered my help as an EMT if there was any need. They said they thought he’d be fine and refused my offer. Worker’s I asked how the man was doing also said he’d be fine.

After over an hour, as much as 1 1/2 hours I’d say, they put a blanket around him, brought an oxygen bottle to him and got him on a small stretcher and carried him into a van to drive off. I never got to see his face and did not see any oxygen being delivered. They said they were waiting on an ambulance but apparently decided to move him themselves since it was taking so long.

Sooooo, the very first time anybody said anything about him being assaulted and this leading to a hospital visit was from Massey’s PR people thru the media with support of a mine inspector who claims they saw it all but whose story has changed and won’t give their name and be interviewed by the press. We were not even handcuffed until the state trooper got there much later than the sheriffs.

I’ll leave y’all to your own conclusions but just say from my perspective that it’s pretty damned low to be using a person with a serious health condition as a propaganda tool. But then Massey is in the business of death. We just have to be prepared to deal w/ such scummy tactics forthrightly and w/ trust in our people.

14 arrested for shutting down massive dragline on MTR site in West Virginia

14 people were arrested today at the Twilight coal mine run by Massey Energy for shutting down the massive dragline on site. As dawn broke a group of 14 people approached the dragline. As part of the group gained the attention of the operator to get him to shut down the machine, a 4 person climb team ascended the 200 foot boom.

Suspended hundreds of feet in the air the climbers began to unfurl an enourmous banner reading, “Stop Mountaintop Removal”. On the ground the rest of the team was ensuring the safety of the climbers and everyone on site as well as unfurling other banners. After about an hour police came in and arrested those on the ground.

The climbers managed to hang on for another couple hours until workers climbed the draglines boom and began to threaten the safety of the climbers by approaching their climb gear. At this point the climbers decided to come down rather than risk their lives at the hands of aggressive workers. Continue reading

Raising the Dead: Memorial Day Activists Jailed in Protest to Stop 998 Coal Sludge Deaths

Reposted from the Huffington Post. Check out Mountain Justice. for the latest! Original post by Jeff Biggers

In three separate direct actions in the West Virginia coalfields yesterday, nonviolent protesters launched the new phase of Operation Appalachian Spring, a growing national campaign to stop mountaintop removal mining and raise awareness of the catastrophic potential of government regulated blasting near a precarious coal sludge impoundment.

“The toxic lake at Brushy Fork dam sits atop a honeycomb of abandoned underground mines,”said Chuck Nelson, from Raleigh County, W.Va. “Massey wants to blast within 100 feet of that dam. The company’s own filings with the state Department of Environmental Protection project a minimum death toll of 998 should the seven-billion-gallon dam break. EPA should override the DEP and revoke this blasting permit for the safety of the community.” Nelson did not participate in the civil disobedience actions.

The nearby Shumate Dam sits a few football fields atop the Marsh Fork elementary school.

In a telling if not bizarre twist of violations and governmental priorities, Mountain Justice activists who floated a “West Virginia Says No More Toxic Sludge” banner atop the toxic multi-billion gallon Brushy Fork slurry impoundment were arrested for “littering.”

Still unable to make bail, nine of the 17 arrested protesters are being held on trespassing charges at the Southern Regional Jail in Beckley, West Virginia. In an extraordinary move to crack down on the protesters, nine violators were given a cash bail of $2000 a piece, which, according to the organizers, prohibits a bail bondsman deposit and requires full payment.

Donations for the activists’ emergency bail fund can be made at a paypal link at: www.mountainjustice.org

Continue reading