Archive for September, 2011

Alpha Postpones Hearing

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
posted by fern

Update–Today Alpha representatives attended the preliminary injunction hearing in Beckley. Even though none of the defendants were present, Alpha lawyers had the opportunity to demand either a temporary restraining order or an injunction. But instead of requesting an injunction right then and there, Alpha representatives asked that the hearing be postponed to give them more time to consult with the us, the defendants. Judge Burnside granted their request. We don’t know for sure what kind of discussion with us Alpha has in mind, but we’re hoping that they postpone this hearing for long enough that we can have our lawyers in the courtroom next time.

It looks like Alpha’s starting to play a little more fairly–we’ll see if they keep it up!

CRMW and RAMPS to Host MJ Fall Summit in Coal River Valley

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
posted by rampscampaign28

This October 28th-30th Coal River Mountain Watch and RAMPS will be hosting the 6th annual Mountain Justice Fall Summit in the Coal River Valley of Southern West Virginia. Rallying around destructive mining practices and the corporate control over our communities that allows these practices to continue, we intend to send a message that we will not stand for this any longer.

Massey Energy, formerly the largest coal producer in the state was bought out by Alpha Natural Resource this past June. The move was heralded as a move away from the safety and environmental violations that marked Massey’s mining history in the region, Regulators and State politicians touting Alpha’s “Running Right” slogan as a prediction of things to come.

However, almost 4 months later it is clear that hopes of Alpha “Running Right” were misplaced. The mines they took over in the coal river valley continue to rack up violation after violation, and concerns over mining practices seem to go unheard as they continue to go forward with aggressive mining plans.

This years Fall Summit will be held at Coal River Mountain Watch’s new volunteer house up Rock Creek Hollow. (more…)

Lawsuit Update: Preliminary Injunction Hearing Today

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
posted by admin

“I refuse to attend a hearing that violates our constitutional rights to have a lawyer. They are suing us to scare us, to intimidate us, and to make sure others don’t follow in our footsteps. But we wont back down. If anything, this is going to only ignite us more” – Becks

While the treesit was happening, Alpha repeatedly claimed to the sitters and to the media that our presence was not impacting their mining operations. Yet oddly enough, now that the tree-sitters are down, they are claiming that this action caused them “irreparable harm.”

On these grounds, they are suing the tree-sitters and their direct support for compensatory and punitive damages–in other words enough money to make up for all that irreparable harm and then enough more to really teach them a lesson. They are also trying to put Eli, Becks, Junior, and squirrel (Catherine-Ann) on an injunction that would invoke severe penalties for any one of them caught trespassing on Marfork’s property again.

In order to get that injunction as quickly as possible, Alpha’s lawyer put on the pressure to get a hearing only two weeks after they had filed for the lawsuit. Of course, there is no way that the affinity group (AG) could rustle up a lawyer and the funds to pay them in a matter of days; RAMPS has neither the pet lawyer nor the limitless capitol that Alpha has. So Becks, squirrel, Eli, and Junior asked alpha attorney’s for more time, which was refused then they filed for a continuance, which was denied by the Raleigh County Circuit Court, despite their written promises that they would not trespass before a hearing could be held.

By denying that continuance, Judge Burnside has refused the AG their fundamental right to have legal counsel with them in court. In order to protect themselves, the AG will not be attending the hearing without a lawyer present. Several local residents, however, will be showing their support by attending the Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley today and monitoring the proceedings.

Alpha’s lawsuit is a travesty, designed to bully us and to quell our courage to dissent, and this hearing is a farce, a weak pretense of justice entirely on Alpha’s terms.

We plan to fight this lawsuit hard, taking full advantage of another opportunity to bring public attention to Alpha’s crimes against the land and the people. If you want to help, spread the word about this outrageous lawsuit and consider donating $5 or $10 to the RAMPS legal fund so that we can hire a lawyer and cover court fees. Thank you!