Friends of the Appalachian Mountains,
people have been arrested and are currently jailed in West Virginia for
a courageous act of non-violent civil disobedience against mountaintop
removal mining last weekend. These folks are currently under a bond of
$25,000 per person, and this excessively high bond means that the
protestors cannot be released until the funds are raised to bail them
out. We do not have anything close to this amount of money, so we need
week, as part of a massive "Mountain Mobilization" organized by RAMPS -
Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival, folks walked onto
Patriot Coal's Hobet mountaintop removal mine as a non-violent protest
against this form of coal mining, where coal companies blast the tops
off the Appalachian Mountains, destroying the forests and every living
thing on the mountain. Over 500 mountains in Appalachia have already
been flattened by this form of mining. Coal companies dump enormous
amounts of mining waste rock and debris into precious headwater mountain
streams in mountaintop removal, and the landscape is permanently
coal is the largest source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and
carbon dioxide is the leading contributor to global warming.
this summer, in the midst of the two-week heat wave that roasted much
of the country, West Virginia was blasted by a derecho - a straight line
wind of near-hurricane force that toppled trees and power lines,
leaving some West Virginians without power for up to 14 days. Check out
the scary and crazy pictures of the derecho as it formed over Chicago on June 29.
the record heat wave this summer and the forest fires in Colorado, it
is worrisome to contemplate what may lie ahead for all of us as the
earth heats up. To get an idea what may happen, its important to
consider the positive feedback mechanisms of climate change.
example, as the earth's temperature increases, forests dry out and
burn, leading to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That's a
positive feedback loop, and there are many of them in global warming.
Watch this short 11-minute animated film,
which I believe is the best explanation of the feedbak mechanisms that
may be the greatest danger of global warming. This film by Leo Murray
is excellent and concise, and I highly recommend it.
Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature" writes in Rolling Stone:
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven't
convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some
hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215
high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the
warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th
consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded
the 20th-century average ...
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever
recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much
that it represented the "largest temperature departure from average of
any season on record."
need to act urgently to address climate change, and these young
activists in West Virginia aren't just sitting on their hands worrying
about the problem - they are taking action.
We need donations now to get these 20 people out of jail in WV for
their acts of civil disobedience in shutting down a mountaintop removal mine site.
Please help spread the word! Below is a press release from RAMPS:
Charles Suggs or Mathew Louis-Rosenberg
arrested at Hobet mine, held on $500,000 combined bail
allow extensive harassment of protesters
W.Va. - More than 50 people affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign stopped
mining work for three hours on Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine in Lincoln County
yesterday, the largest number of people ever to disrupt an active mountaintop
removal site. Protesters walked onto the Hobet 45 mining complex with
banners reading: “Restore our mountains; re-employ our miners” and “Coal Leaves;
Cancer Stays.” Twenty people were arrested and are being held on bail of
$25,000 each at the Western Regional Jail. Multiple arrestees, including
20-year-old Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va., were reportedly beaten by
authorities in custody. R.A.M.P.S. and supporters are calling for an immediate
reduction in bail and the immediate transfer of Dustin Steele to a hospital to
document and treat his injuries.
remainder of the demonstrators walked off the site when asked to leave by
police. Authorities prevented their transport vehicles from driving down the
public road to pick them up, forcing them to walk for four hours along the side
of Mud River Road while allowing pro-coal demonstrators to harass them. After
reuniting with their transport vehicles, they were barricaded on the road for
an hour and a half by a blockade of miners in pickup trucks. A separate
convoy of vehicles attempting to pick up demonstrators was blocked in by
pro-coal demonstrators at a gas station where three individuals were pepper-sprayed.
Pro-coal demonstrators were not stopped by police in their multiple
attempts to block public roads.
blatant cooperation between law enforcement and the coal industry makes me
embarrassed as a West Virginian. This brutality and disregard for safety is one
of the clearest examples of the hold the coal industry has on the state
government," said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.
in the day, about 30 people gathered at the Kanawha State Forest. They
were met by about 60 counter-protesters before leaving to join the protest, but
the tone turned non-confrontational as one miner struck up a lengthy dialogue
with a local protester over the economic future of the region. Police arrested
one activist who they accused of lying to them about not having identification.
The only identification on him was a debit card--not a valid form of ID.
After several hours, he was released with a ticket on the side of Rt. 94
far from any town and forced to hitchhike because police had confiscated his cell
phone and debit card. An independent journalist was also arrested for
photographing the incident.
studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects
“The coal companies are poisoning our
water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land –
fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor
as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.
production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with illness and environmental devastation as the
industry pulls out of the region and companies
file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs
a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://wvgazette.com/News/201207200150?page=2&build=cache" style="outline: none;">http://wvgazette.com/News/201207200150?page=2&build=cache>.
Coal is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping
block. Both UMWA pensions and the state’s Special Reclamation Fund are
funded through a per-ton tax on coal. With Central Appalachian coal
production in the middle of a projected six-year, 50 percent decline a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/archive/aeo11/source_coal.cfm" style="outline: none;">http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/archive/aeo11/source_coal.cfm>,this funding stream
is increasingly unsustainable. Protesters are calling on the coal industry and government to both to honor
commitments to retired workers and to restore the land.
companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming all disturbed land to the highest standards. Instead of
arguing about the ‘war on
coal,’ political leaders should immediately allocate funds to retrain and re-employ laid off miners to secure a healthy future
for the families of this region,” said R.A.M.P.S.
spokesperson Mathew Louis-Rosenberg.
communities have a long, proud history of confronting the coal industry’s
exploitive practices with direct civil disobedience. R.A.M.P.S. and others have
returned to this tradition to eliminate strip mining once and for all. For
R.A.M.P.S., this has included a range of actions since 2011, from tree-sits to
blockades of coal trucks.
action was just one part of this summer’s National Uprising Against Extractiona rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/24-8" style="outline: none;">http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/24-8>,
to fight oppressive extractive industries and demand a transition to a
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