Two weeks ago, Mountain Justice and RAMPS visited Alpha Natural Resources’ main headquarters in Bristol, VA, to let the company know that we’re very aware of the rash of new permits to mine Coal River Mountain inside and out. By the time those blockading the headquarters had been cut out and the banner-hanger had been retrieved from the front flagpole with a firetruck ladder, 8 of those taking a stand against Alpha had been arrested. All those arrested served some time in jail, and some chose to delay getting bailed out to serve some of their time, with the last person to be bailed out spending two weeks in jail. Bail for the group totaled $35,000.
We’re glad to have everyone out of jail, but this action was the beginning of this chapter of the fight for this mountain, not the end of it. Marfork Coal, a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, has obtained new permits to mine 1,000 acres of the Eastern Side of the Mountain. This expands upon the already-permitted 3,000 acres in the Eagle 2 permit and the Beetree permit, which would mine the peak, western, and northern sides of the mountain. In addition, proposals have just been revealed for Alpha to destroy 2,000 acres of the southern side of the mountain near Rock Creek and Lower Sandlick.
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All of our friends arrested in the Alpha headquarters action were arraigned in front of a judge this morning after spending the weekend in Jail. While none of them can be released from jail until their bail is set, only some of them will get bail hearings this afternoon. If enough donations are made to the legal defense fund, we may be able to get some of them out of jail today or tomorrow! While it’s looking like half or more of our friends won’t be able to get a hearing today, we hope to raise money in the interim so that we’re able to make bail as soon as it is set.
Over the past decade, the Mountain Justice Legal Defense Fund has made it possible for countless people to risk arrest in actions and for our movement to bail those arrested out when they needed it. Donations to the legal defense fund are usually used not just once, but again and again as court cases are resolved and those funds return. In other words, one donation can help action after action over the years. Right now, our fund is critically low because many activists are still out on bail for other Mountain Justice actions that have happened this year.
If you can, please donate to the legal fund to make it possible to bail out the 8 people in jail now and to support our ongoing work.
Our friends who were arrested near Alpha’s headquarters thought a lot about the issue before taking action. Here are the statements that they made about why they are organizing against Alpha Natural Resources:
Activists Blockade Alpha Natural Resources Three activists demanding an end to mountaintop removal, block entrance to corporate office, stop business as usual. June 20, 2014 — Bristol, VA. Three activists with Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People’s Survival (RAMPS) are currently stopping business as usual at Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, […]
Elders Circle of the 40-Year Sovereign Dineh Nation Resistance, Black Mesa Indigenous Support, Save the Confluence, RAMPS, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment worked in concert to hold a training camp at Big Mountain this May. As resisters to Peabody Energy from the decades-exploited lands in Appalachia, to the corporate headquarters in Saint Louis, to […]
As activists who engage in arrestable direct actions, we are familiar with how the criminal (in)justice system works, at least for us. Our friends take the scary and difficult step to risk arrest, putting themselves on the line to resist ecological and political injustices in the communities we work in, and are carted off to […]
For the land and the people – by D Steele The MCHM chemical spill that poisoned the Elk River and the municipal water of over 300,000 people is not an isolated event, an anomaly or an act of god. It is also not an incident that happens in the vacuum of Appalachia, this can and […]