Some Good News! Anti-Mountain Top Removal victories and growing resistance...
There's been so much bad news lately, here's some news from a place where grassroots organizing, coalition building between labor, environmentalists, and community groups, and direct action have proven enormously successful.
The location is Appalachia, where activists are trying to stop the devestating practice of Mountain Top Removal coal mining. The target is (primarily) the huge coal company Massey Coal.
See www.mountainjusticesummer.org for more information.
On July 26 DEP [W. Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection] rescinded a permit for Goals Coal Company to build a second coal silo at its preparation plant in Sundial.
DEP issued the permit on June 30. Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward published reports that Goals began construction before the permit was issued, and that permit maps show that the silo fell outside an old permit boundary (click on links to stories below). Surface mining laws forbid permits within 300 feet of a school. The DEP initially granted despite the fact that the silo would sit beside Marsh Fork Elementary School The DEP "grandfathered" the silo permit because the initial prep plant permit preceded the law. The new DEP order requires Goals to demolish work already done on the silo and to reclaim areas disturbed by construction.
In response to the silo being revoked, Don Blankenship has hired Robert Luskin, the same lawyer defending Karl Rove, to sue West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin for violating his First Amendment rights. Comparing his recent public exchanges to two soldiers firing on each other at close range, Blankenship said, "That's sort of what the governor and I did. He shut my silo down, and I shot him with this lawsuit."
Governor Manchin now joins the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America) and its president, Cecil Roberts, West Virginia Consumers for Justice and its chairman, and the Charleston Gazette on the list of people and organizations Don Blankenship and/or Massey is suing. In addition, Blankenship sent a letter to the West Virginia Education Association threatening to sue if they don't pull some radio ads. And last but not least, our good friends at Coal River Mountain Watch have received a letter from Massey Energy.
Coal titan Blankenship sues Manchin
Massey chief says governor is retaliating against him because he fought pension
By Brad McElhinny
Needs some organizing ideas?
Below are some highlights from the activism they've done to stop Massey (the company doing the mountain top removal mining and placing the silo). There's also been a huge rural outreach canvass, newspapers distro'd, etc.
They have a big rally coming up this Saturday July 30th...
1. Tuesday, July 19th, 2005 Coalfield Residents, MJS trace Massey's Trail of Destruction.
From July 19 through the 21st Coal River Valley residents and concerned people from around the globe came together to oppose Mountaintop Removal coal mining in the heart of MTR country. Each day highlighted a different site and a different atrocity perpetrated on the people of West Virginia by Massey Energy. From toxic dust storms and community displacement to enormous leaking dams, this 15 mile stretch of Rt. 3 has seen the full range of devastation brought on by a Massey MTR site.
2. Friday, July 8th, 2005 on the International Day of Action Against Climate Change
Protest targets Massey
300 demonstrators rallied against the coal company's practices in
3. Governor Grants Meeting with Hunger-Striking Grandfather
JULY 5, Charleston, WV - At approximately 2:30 pm, Governor Joe Manchin granted an impromptu meeting with Ed Wiley, grandfather of a Marsh Fork Elementary School Student. Ed Wiley, who went on a hunger strike earlier this morning, vowed to remain on the Capitol steps until the Governor addressed his concerns regarding the health and safety of the students of Marsh Fork Elementary School.
4. Coalfield citizens arrested delivering demands to Massey headquarters Jun 30, 2005
RICHMOND, VA—Concerned parents and other citizens of Coal River Valley, West Virginia, with support from Mountain Justice Summer participants, today delivered a list of demands to Massey Energy's headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, insisting that Massey respond. The citizens are demanding that Massey shut down its preparation plant, coal silo, 1,849-acre mountaintop removal coal mine and 2.8 billion-gallon coal sludge dam—a toxic waste storage facility—at the kindergarten through fifth-grade school.
5. Competing rallies in downtown Lexington over the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining.
Kentucky Coal Association president Bill Caylor, left, tasted a small amount of coal slurry, brought to him by a group from the "Rally to End Mountain Top Removal Mining" a protest that was being held at Triangle Park in Lexington, Ky. on Friday, June 17, 2005.
6. First stockholders meeting of National Coal Corporation Disrupted
June 7, 2005
Approximately 45 activists surprised the first-ever shareholders meeting of Knoxville-based National Coal Corporation, at the Holiday Inn Select in west Knoxville.
The procession, which included a marching band, a bear costume and other animals. Protestors demanded that National Coal stop mountaintop removal mining, while distributing informational flyers to shareholders.3 activists were arrested and slapped with a $46,000 bail.
7. 16 arrested while attempting to deliver demands to Massey
Sundial, West Virginia, May 31, 2005
8. FOR THE SAKE OF THE KIDS
Coal River Residents Confront Massey Energy
Sundial, West Virginia, May 24, 2005
9. Pike residents protest at TECO coal company
Corbin, KY, May 18, 2005
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