Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Five arrested blocking coal barge shipment with $10k bail, none arrested blocking haul road. Two activists are still detained and need legal funds.
EPA, DEP, USGS make surprise visit to Kayford Mountain and haul road blockade
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 May 2012
Contact: Robert Livingston, 304.731.1740
UPDATE: Joseph, Loeb and MacDougal were charged with trespass asked to leave and obstruction, both misdemeanors, while Draper and Mack-Boll were charged with trespass asked to leave. All five were held on $10,000 bail with an option of $1,000 surety bond. Loeb and MacDougal intend to continue their protest and not cooperate with the criminal justice system by staying in jail until their court dates and the other three have been released. RAMPS and Mountain Justice request donations to continue the campaign.
KAYFORD, W.Va. – Mountain Justice and RAMPS disrupted coal transport at two locations in the upper Kanawha Valley on Thursday May 24.
Five people boarded an empty coal barge at the Quincy Docks operated by Kanawha River Terminals in Chelyan, W.Va. and locked themselves to the boat with a banner stating “Coal Leaves Cancer Stays”. The barge was immobilized for three hours, until police detained them by 1:00 pm.
The group on the barge included Ricki Draper, 21, of Greensboro, NC; Nathan Joseph, 23, New Orleans, LA; Rebecca Loeb, 24, Maynard, MA; Catherine-Ann MacDougal, 23, Rock Creek, WV; Jacob Mack-Boll, 20, Lancaster, PA (click for personal statements).
Draper stated, “I am incredibly proud to stand today with the century-long Appalachian resistance against the devastating effects of the coal industry. I have broken the law because the legal system is broken. I have broken the law because mountaintop removal is destroying our health, our mountains, and our futures. I have broken the law because the destruction of our landbase, which is our endowment, is legal.” Personal statements from other action participants will be released online at http://action.mountainjustice.org.
Meanwhile, on Kayford Mountain, dozens of concerned citizens blocked access to and from the Republic Energy Surface Mine until they were dispersed by police. The blockade halted nine coal trucks and no arrests were made.
“Some of the truck drivers gave friendly honks of their horns. We’re going to spend the afternoon helping out at Stanley Heirs Park, trying to make life a little easier for Larry [Gibson] and other folks who live near mountaintop removal and face intimidation,” Kirby Spangler.
According to Spangler and Larry Gibson, the action coincided with an unannounced site visit by officials with the W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection, federal Environmental Protection Agency, and United States Geological Survey. The officials drove past the blocked haul road to the top of the mountain to survey the mountaintop removal operation. Following the action’s conclusion, Gibson met the officials in an impromptu meeting, telling the EPA officials “If the DEP did its job, you wouldn’t need to be here,” and describing his experience of living next to mountaintop removal, including the acts of violence and vandalism targeting him and his property.
This action is a continuation of non-violent resistance to mountaintop removal in West Virginia and central Appalachia and builds on recent actions taken to disrupt the transports and export of coal. Stay tuned for an announcement about a late-summer mountain takeover, and in the meantime there’s Women United Against Mountaintop Removal, May 28 at the West Virginia Capitol.