Tuesday, May 26, 2009

17 arrested anti-mountaintop removal civil disobedience

Please donate to the legal fund here.

Seventeen courageous Mountain Justice volunteers were arrested Saturday, May 23 in a three-part civil disobedience action in our continuing movement to end mountaintop removal. Six are still in jail with bogus, unprecedented, $2,000 cash-only bail amounts, slowing their release. Many of them were arrested for the first time with clean records, and all they did was cross a line onto coal company property. We are raising $18,000 to get them out of jail as we move closer to defeating King Coal. Fundraising has bailed out three others since this morning. Thank you all!

The Kayford Eight were charged with trespass and conspiracy for walking onto the 12,000-acre-plus Kayford Mountain mine and locking themselves to a giant dump truck. Placing U-locks around their necks, they attached themselves to guardrails and the driveshaft of the truck after hanging a banner on the truck's grill that read "Never Again!" Here is a statement from the Kayford Eight:

We locked down at the Kayford mountaintop removal site with mud from the Mingo County flood on our boots and now, with the dusty remains of Kayford Mountain on our boots, we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers jailed for their actions to oppose mountaintop removal coal mining.

Also before dawn, two brave women, donning hazmat suits and respirators, boated onto the eight-billion-gallon Brushy Fork toxic coal slurry lake and launched a 60-foot floating banner that read "No more toxic sludge!" They were charged with trespass and littering. How can you litter on a giant toxic waste dump? Massey Energy has a permit to blast within 100 feet of this impoundment, which sits atop a honeycomb of abandoned deep mines. In 2000, more than 300 million gallons of coal slurry broke through the bottom of Massey's Martin Co., Ky., impoundment, and into the deep mines beneath, then exploding into two watersheds, smothering aquatic life over 100 miles of streams. A Brushy Fork failure would be over 23 times larger than Martin County.

Saturday's two backcountry actions were followed by a picket at the mouth of Massey Energy's Marfork mining complex, which includes the Brushy Fork dam, where more than 75 Coal River Valley residents and supporters emphasized the deadly danger of that impoundment: the 72-foot peak depth of the sludge at the Head Start facility there should the dam break. Seven people crossed the line onto Marfork's property and were arrested for trespass.

While the Kayford Eight were released the same day, the other nine fared differently. The two Brushy Paddlers and four of the Pettus Seven are being held for $2,000 each, cash only. We know you love and care about the people of Appalachia! Now is the time to demonstrate your support through a donation to help bail out these committed and passionate activists. We really need your support more than ever at this crucial juncture in the movement to end mountaintop removal mining!

If donating by mail, make out a check or money order to Mountain Justice at: P.O. Box 86, Naoma, WV, 25140.

For donations that have a much-needed immediate impact, call 304-854-1937. Thank you!


Let's Keep up the Pressure

Be part of ending mountaintop removal: ban its combustion in your community, volunteer in Appalachia, donate to Coal River 17's legal fund.
It's going to take action, continued and direct, to stop Mountaintop Removal. We need to stop the coal bosses from laying mountains low and laying off deep miners. We're going to keep confronting these coal barons, and we need your help.

Help out on the ground in Appalachia—there are opportunities in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Send an email to volunteer (at) mountainjustice (dot) org. We need organizers and hellraisers. We need media and medics. We need cooks, gardeners and folks comfortable in the backwoods.

We also need solidarity. If you can't come to Appalachia, you can organize in your hometown or at your university. Contact us for fundraiser, action, and teach-in ideas or act on your own initiative.

And if nothing else, you can send us money. We need to feed our volunteers and cover our legal fees. However you help, you're a crucial part of ending mountaintop removal and building sustainable economies and communities in Appalachia! Donate here.