“The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region.” — Dustin Steele of Matewan, West Virginia.
Following yesterday’s historic shutdown of the Hobet mine — Appalachia’s largest mountaintop removal site— Dustin and at least nineteen other Appalachians and allies are being held on $25,000 bail each — a combined $500,000.* Most are being charged with trespass and obstruction.
While we believe that these bail amounts are unconstitutionally excessive and may ultimately be reduced, we need to raise as much money as we possibly can to support those brave individuals who have put their bodies on the line to put a halt to the injustice of mountaintop removal mining. According to Dustin, he was taken into a room and beaten by law enforcement while in custody. Witnesses have reported that other protesters were brutalized by law enforcement while being taken into custody. We need to work to ensure that anyone who wants to get out of jail can do so as soon as possible.
Mountaintop removal is a crime against humanity that has left a legacy of poisoned air and water, high cancer rates, economic exploitation, and devastated communities and ecosystems throughout Appalachia. Corrupted legislators and regulators at the state and federal levels have failed to take action to stop these atrocities, leaving direct action as the last resort for conscientious residents aiming to save the land and people of Appalachia.
Please check www.rampscampaign.org for updates as we receive additional information about our friends in custody.
Please share the following fundraising link via email, facebook, twitter, and other networks: http://bit.ly/mj-legal
To see more images from yesterday’s historic action, click here.
*We were able to verify bail amounts of $25,000 for seventeen of our arrested friends and assume it is the same for the remaining three.