Archive for April, 2013

RAMPS Campaigner Glen Collins Sentenced to 60 Days for KXL Action

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
posted by mlr

Update:  Glen’s jail sentence ends on May 7 th … But that doesn’t include court costs.

Glen owes $518 in court costs, which he needs to pay before he is released.  If court costs are not paid before May 7th, Glen will be kept in Smith County Jail for 5 additional days.   For every additional day that Glen remains in jail, Smith County will credit him $100 towards payment of the court costs.

As a for-profit private jail, Smith County Jail makes more than $100 a day on Glen for everyday that he is incarcerated.   For this reason (and because jail sucks,) Glen would like to pay his court costs before his set release date and get out of jail on May 7 th.

Please Donate to help Glen get out of jail as soon as it is possible.

Glen is doing alright in jail, he calls and checks in regularly.   The jail took 4 extra days to give him the books that we sent him, but he has them now and is spending most of his time reading.   He has commissary, so he is eating enough to keep his belly full.  He has gotten over the cold that he got right after getting into jail, along with most of the other guys in his pod that were also sick.

Thank you all for the support that you’ve shown to our comrade in jail!

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Glen Collins is in Smith CGlen Collins Mugshot from Smith County Jail, TXounty Jail in Texas tonight after pleading guilty to charges of trespassing and illegal dumping stemming from his blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline last December.  In one of the most striking actions in the Tar Sands Blockade campaign, Glen locked himself with Matt Almonte to a concrete barrel inside the KXL pipeline.  He was sentenced to 60 days in jail – the longest sentence of the three activists arrested that day.  We are currently waiting to find out how the 3 weeks Glen spent in jail following his action will be counted against his sentence.  Due to the overwhelming weirdness of the Texas legal system, it’s uncertain how much time he has left to serve.

Glen has checked in from jail and is doing fine as far as jail goes.  We are supporting him in every way we can from up here in WV.  To help support Glen, please donate to the RAMPS general fund which we are using to pay for collect calls from jail, commissary and sending him books to help pass the time.

Glen took action in Texas as a part of our deep commitment to true solidarity, made of action, not words across all struggles against extraction.  As he said at the time, “I’m barricading this pipe with Tar Sands Blockade today to say loud and clear to the extraction industry that our communities and the resources we depend on for survival are not collateral damage.  This fight in East Texas against tar sands exploitation is one and the same as our fight in the hollers of West Virginia. Dirty energy extraction doesn’t just threaten my home; it threatens the collective future of the planet.”

Glen back in jail

I Refuse to Be Silent: Statement from Joe Solomon

Monday, April 15th, 2013
posted by mlr

joeToday a friend and I interrupted a coal conference – one where industry funded scientists are trying to cast doubt on the clear evidence of the ravages of coal. These scientists are worse than a disgrace: their lies and willful misdirection condone the war the coal industry is waging on West Virginia and the people of Appalachia.

There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that coal–and mountaintop removal in particular–is poisoning the people of Appalachia. Just one of dozens of recent peer-reviewed studies tell us that the rate of children born with birth defects is 42% higher in mountaintop removal communities.  The evidence is likewise clear that the coal carbon bomb locked underneath Appalachia’s mountains make up one of the biggest American accelerators of climate change. NASA’s former lead climate scientist tells us “coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.”

I refuse to be silent, to sit back, when the US treats its own beloved state of West Virginia as a colony for King Coal. We can do better. And we must.

I am a current resident of the southern coalfields of WV. Though I hail from Vermont. We share the same ridge-line. We are all connected. My actions here pale in comparison to what happens when the Green Mountain State stands up strong for what’s becoming the Mountaintop Removal State. I invite my fellow Vermonters to join us in solidarity this Summer and beyond.

WV has a bright, clean energy future, if we seize it. Last month, 100% of the new US electricity generated was solar power. We share the same sun as the rest of the country; let’s tap into it. We are ranked as the 49th state when it comes to energy efficiency. It’s time to fight to be #1: creating thousands of jobs that save neighbors money, without the risk of black lung.

King Coal and the fossil fuel and extreme energy corporations are digging in with all they’ve got to reap the last profits from wrecking our planet. It’s time for us to dig in too. With resolve, solidarity, and love.

Rumor has it we are in store for quite a fearless Summer of resistance. I like to think that Summer’s spirit may be already here.

Protesters Disrupt Coal Industry-Funded “Science” Symposium

Monday, April 15th, 2013
posted by mlr

UPDATE 4/16 10:45 p.m. David Baghdadi had a bail reduction hearing today and was released on his own recognizance.  He is out of jail and among friends.  Thanks for all your support and to David for standing up to the legal system!

UPDATE: joe gets out

Joe and David were charged in Charleston Municipal Court with trespassing, obstruction, and unlawful assembly.

Their bails were set at $1,686 each.

Joe has been bailed out.

David  has been taken to South Central Regional Jail.

Tips on how to support our folks in jail.

Please donate to either our bail fund or our general fund to keep the momentum rolling.

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Joe Solomon and David Baghdadi locked together with a box reading "Coal Kills" disrupting the opening plenary of the ARIES symposium

Joe Solomon and David Baghdadi locked together disrupting the opening plenary of the ARIES symposium. Police cleared the room.

Charleston, W.Va. — Today two protesters disrupted the first symposium held by the Appalachian Research Initiative in Environmental Science (ARIES), a coal industry funded research consortium.

Joe Solomon and David Baghdadi marched into the opening session of the “Environmental Considerations in Energy Production” Symposium, locked themselves together, and started chanting “Coal kills, science lies.”  They also played recordings of the late Judy Bonds and Larry Gibson, long-time leaders in the fight against strip-mining.  The plenary panel included the top state mining regulators from West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, including WV Dept. of Environmental Protection.

Joe and David said they would unlocked if even one West Virginia citizen was allowed to speak on the panel.  Symposium organizers chose instead to clear the room, call the Charleston Police and have the two arrested.  More protesters outside the symposium sought to highlight the questionable nature of research produced with coal industry money.

4 people holding a banner reading "Clean Coal Dirty Lie!" outside the ARIES conference at the Marriot in Charleston

Protesters outside the ARIES conference confronting industry funded science at the Charleston Marriott

“This is just another example of the coal industry cynically trying to muddy the waters, distort the science and delay the inevitable,” said Junior Walk of Boone Co., WV who attended the protest, “Truly independent scientists and Appalachian citizen’s daily experiences both have proven strip mining damages community health, local economies and local watersheds.  It’s time for action.”

The protesters today were acting in solidarity with Appalachian residents that are at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Regions 3 and 4 in Philadelphia and Atlanta today to demand the EPA issue a “conductivity rule”.

Over three years the EPA has released independently reviewed science clearly linking higher conductivity from strip mines with damage to overall stream health.  Citizens’ groups across Appalachia have been calling on the EPA to translate this science into an enforceable, numeric limit.

ARIES is a multi-university effort “to engage in detailed studies of the environmental impacts of the mining, gas and energy sectors in Appalachia, focusing on both upstream (mining, drilling, and processing) and downstream (water, land and air) issues” funded by 15 million dollars from corporate sponsors including Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Natural Resource Partners, TECO Coal, Patriot Coal, Cliffs Natural Resources, Mepco, Norfolk Southern and CSX.  The project is directed by Virginia Tech’s Center for Coal and Energy.  The Center director Dr. Michael Karmis made the true purpose of the ARIES project clear at a September 2011 meeting of the Society of Mining Professors.

“”The coal industry needs help,” said Karmis, citing the industry as “under a major attack” from “unreasonable regulations” based on “questionable science,” “false assertions” and “self-serving interests.”

The very first “Technical Bulletin” published by ARIES promoted a study of a single stream in the Virginia coalfields that purported to refute volumes of data linking conductivity and impaired streams.

“This country has seen these same dirty tricks before from the lead, tobacco, and asbestos industries.  The industry funds scientists to create just enough doubt to delay strong government action.  We won’t be fooled again and we won’t let the coal industry get away with it,” said Joe Solomon.

Read more about ARIES in this excellent article by Ken Ward Jr.

Mountain Justice Summer 2013

Thursday, April 4th, 2013
posted by admin

The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Camp is near Damascus, VA from May 19-27.  Register Now

action from MJS 2012

Two actions in one day – MJS 2012

5 activists arrested for Boarding a Coal Barge

5 activists arrested for Boarding a Coal Barge

Join us for our 9th Mountain Justice Summer Action Training Camp.  This year, it’s time to fan the flames of resistance to dirty energy, and put an end to MTR once and for all, while continuing to support bottom up economic transition for a brighter Appalachia.

MJS is a place to learn skills, expand on the ones you already have, strengthen connections in networked social movements for Justice, meet new allies and take action to stop the destruction of Appalachia.

MJS is a week-long program of education, workshops, discussions, entertainment, and trainings to prepare activists of all ages and walks of life to join the movement to end MTR and to help promote environmental justice for Appalachia and beyond.   There will also be opportunities to learn about community organizing, non-violent civil disobedience, Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining and other topics including Appalachian Culture, anti-oppression theory, and Anti-extraction movement building.  There will also be a training for trainers track and a street medic training,

We can’t wait and look forward to seeing you soon!

Register Now