Protesters Disrupt Coal Industry-Funded “Science” Symposium

Monday, April 15th, 2013
posted by mlr

UPDATE 4/16 10:45 p.m.  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 for standing up to the legal system!

UPDATE: joe gets out

They 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.

 

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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locked together with a box reading "Coal Kills" disrupting the opening plenary of the ARIES symposium

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.

They 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.

They 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.

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  1. […] April 15, 2013. Source: Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival […]

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