Archive for July, 2012

Support the Hobet 20. Write to them!

Monday, July 30th, 2012
posted by becks

There are still 10 folks being held in jail after shutting down the largest mountaintop removal site in Appalachia. They would LOVE your support and encouragement so please write letters and send books. Even if you don’t know them personally, everyone did an incredible job standing up to King Coal and this is a time they need support from you.

To guarantee that the person you’re writing to will receive your letters: address them to their legal name, use standard sized white envelopes and white paper, use only a pencil or pen with blue/black ink (typed or colored ink may cause your letter to be confiscated), don’t include cards, photocopies, clippings, or other materials besides black and white written correspondence.

Photos are okay. Please assume all mail will be read by the jail. Remember that the person you are writing may not have paper or stamps to write back, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a reply.  All books must be paperback and sent from the publisher.

Following is a list of some of our arrestees. (Folks that have asterisks next to their name have their name misspelled in the system, so please write the letters to the names as we have them spelled here):

Sophia Morgan, Kathryn Dolby*, Dorian Williams, Clark Santee, George Vest, Van Pham, Matthew K. Smith, Kevin Kuenster,

Address the letters or books to Western Regional Jail at One O’Hanlon Place, Barboursville, WV 25504


URGENT: 20 Pro-Mountain Activists Held on $500,000 Combined Bail; Your Support is Needed

Sunday, July 29th, 2012
posted by admin

“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 for updates as we receive additional information about our friends in custody.

Stand with the Hobet 20 by donating to the Mountain Justice legal fund — click here.

Please share the following fundraising link via email, facebook, twitter, and other networks:

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.

Release: Largest MTR mine shut down!

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
posted by admin

July 28, 2012

Contact: Charles Suggs, 304-449-NVDA (6832), [email protected]
Talking Points document:

“Mountain Mobilization” shuts down Lincoln Co. strip mine

Call for end to strip mining and a just transition for the region’s families

Charleston, W.Va.—More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down.  Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: “Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.”  At least three have been arrested, with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw.  Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.

“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, W.Va. said.  Steele was one of the people locked to the rock truck.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that strip mining negatively impacts community health and miner health.   Recent studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects around strip mines, and miners who spend at least 20 years as strip-mine drillers have a 61 percent chance of contracting silicosis, a virulent form of black lung.  “The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land – fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.

As coal production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with only illness and environmental devastation as the industry pulls out of the region and companies file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs.


Key messages of Mountain Mobilization

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
posted by admin

The government has failed to protect Appalachian communities by aiding and abetting the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety protections. The result of this government failure is shattered health, widespread environmental destruction, and unemployment and economic depression throughout Appalachia. It is time for the government and the coal industry to end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and work to secure a healthy, prosperous future for the families and workers of this region.

  • The scars of over 100 years of coal extraction can be seen in the black lung clinics, acid mine drainage, unreclaimed surface mines, communities with high rates of cancer and birth defects, and the many pensioners who wonder about promises made by their bosses in the industry.
  • Patriot Coal, owner of the Hobet mine, the largest surface mine in West Virginia, is currently going through chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was filed through a shell corporation in New York, created only months ago. In bankruptcy court, union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block.
  • Central Appalachian coal production is in the middle of a 50 percent, six-year decline, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Both UMWA pensions and reclamation of abandoned strip mines are funded by a per-ton tax on coal. This is no longer a viable option in the face of a declining coal industry.
  • (more…)

Mtn. Mobilization registration form fixed

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
posted by admin

It came to our attention that registrations weren’t getting through, so we took a look and fixed the problem.  The last registration we have is from 12:44 am on July 21.  The form came back online at 7:30 p.m., July 23. If you tried to register and didn’t, please do so now.  We apologize for the inconvenience and promise to drink extra coffee from now on.

the RAMPS tech crew

Take Back a Mountain on July 28

Friday, July 20th, 2012
posted by admin

**UPDATE** Registration is still open, now looking towards the day of action on Saturday.  Please register at the link below to get all the information you need. registerregisterregister!

Please spread the word far and wide and make sure that folks you know are coming get the information they need! ****

On Saturday, July 28th, hundreds of us will march onto a strip mine and shut it down. Stand with us as we take action. Concerned community members and activists are preparing to take nonviolent direct action to do what the politicians, the regulators and the courts have been unwilling to do: to defend the land and the people; to stop strip mining.

Trainings to prepare participants for mass nonviolent direct action will begin on Wednesday, July 25th.  We still need you to register even if you can only come for the day of the action. Together, we will shut down a surface mine! We will support those who choose to leave when asked (if they have the option), but we encourage non-cooperation with the legal system, which supports King Coal and chooses to enforce the law against the people but not against the coal companies. Will you take the next step in Tim DeChristopher’s vision of a growing wave of resistance to end strip mining for good?  

So many years of hard fought struggle have brought us here. The people and organizers in Appalachia have a plan to stop mountaintop removal–but we need many people to take a stand with us. With this walk-on, we are building toward a sustained mass-action next spring. Join with us now to become part of the history of ending strip mining. 

This is an absolutely critical time for the movement against strip mining in Appalachia.  With coal no longer the king of the power industry, Appalachian coal producers’ stocks are dropping and they are slashing jobs and cutting productionWhile other WV politicians continue blindly defending a deadly dinosaur industry and coal companies continue strip mining to the bitter end, Appalachia continues to face a public health, economic, and ecological crisis.  Even a staunch defender of coal like Sen. Rockefeller is acknowledging times are changing.  In this moment, we have the opportunity to turn the tide. Together, we can send the clear message that we demand a future for Appalachia and us all. Donate now to the Mountain Mobilization. (for checks click here)

As Larry Gibson, Keepers of the Mountains said, “Everything has to get bigger from here. We need to put our backs up against the wall and not back down. The 99% means nothing if we don’t all support each other.  No matter what our positions are we must come together.” 

We’re not backing down.

RAMPS Supports Historic EF! Action Shutting Down a Fracking Site

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
posted by admin

Nearly 100 Earth First! activists, friends and allies forced a 70-foot-tall EQT hydrofracking drill rig to suspend operations for 12 hours yesterday in Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest. This is the first time that protesters have shut down a hydrofrack drilling operation in the US. A tree sitter hung above the access road, with their anchor ropes blocking it. A second person was also in a tree to support the sitter while dozens of supporters guarded ten large debris piles that were across the road. Another group of 50 activists blockaded the entrance to the access road. The State Police, with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, dispersed the blockade around nine p.m. And removed the tree sitters with a ladder truck. Three arrests were made for disorderly conduct, but protesters were cited and released on-site.

There are a limited number of actual drill rigs in operation in the state which are ferried around from site to site on a tight schedule. By halting operations for a day on this site, the blockade has likely created a costly disruption for a handful of wells in the area which EQT apparently planned to drill in succession.

The activists reported that the police were at times reckless with the sitters’ safety, such as being quick to cut their anchor ropes.  The supporting sitter’s safety and descent ropes were cut by the police as he climbed higher in the tree.  The police in the ladder truck had no radios and communication to the ground was difficult over the noise of the diesel engine; at one point the ladder hit one of the sitter’s support lines. Police were seen taunting the sitter by waving around one of their anchor lines and making jokes at them while shaking the hammock.

Earth First! shut down frack site in PA state forest

Sunday, July 8th, 2012
posted by admin

Activists from Marcellus Shale Earth First!, Earth Firsters from around the country and other friends and allies have shut down a fracking well site in the Moshannon State Forest, near State College, Pa.  There’s two tree sitters whose anchor lines cross the access road, and if a line is cut a sitter falls.  There’s also a large debris pile blocking the road and, nearby, a crowd of supporters is standing in the road.

For continuing updates, see