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Posts Tagged ‘appalachia’

Pepco announces plan to shift all power facilities to wind and solar energy, may cancel planned rate hikes Pepco notifies its customers that it wishes “to serve the energy needs of our customers for generations to come.”

Washington DC – In an unprecedented move this morning, Pepco Holdings Inc. executives announced plans to shift all of their energy facilities to wind and solar energy by the year 2020. The DC-area power giant has already delivered the news of its green energy transition to thousands of its customers in the DC area through door-to-door flyers distributed this morning. Pepco is an innovative power company serving 1.9 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Pepco is now reconsidering proposed rate hikes that would have raised the cost of electricity bills to its customers. In letters to their customers this morning, company executives implied the planned rate hikes may not be necessary after the shift to alternative energy sources. The company may also cancel rate increases to many of its customers. Customers can call (202) 833-7500 to find out if they apply for a Pepco rate adjustment. Read the rest of this entry »

Join Rainforest Action Network and thousands of friends on the internet as we send a message to JP Morgan Chase to stop financing mountaintop removal! JP Morgan Chase is the largest US financier of mountaintop removal coal mining, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a real American tragedy.

Please join us for a social media day of action.  On Feb. 18, we’ll use our Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs to hold JP Morgan Chase accountable for financing this despicable practice.

Click any button for instructions on how to participate

For Internet Explorerer users scroll below for directions

Take Action on Facebook Take Action on Twitter Take Action on Your Blog
Take Action on YouTube Take Action on Flickr Take Action on Your Blog

JP Morgan Chase is the biggest U.S. financier of mountaintop removal.

They have financial relationships with the poster child of mountaintop removal, Massey Energy.  That means their money is funds sludge impoundments like Brushy Fork which is currently holding 7 billion gallons of coal waste above the Coal River Valley.  Their money funds the dragline that 14 of my friends shut down in Twilight last June that scrapes away house size chunks of earth after the mountain has been blasted.  Their money funds the security guards and noise machines that harassed and abused 3 tree-sitters last month defending Coal River Mountain with non-violent direct action.  Their money funds Don Blankenship’s helicopters, mansion and corrupt junkets to Spain with WV Supreme Court Justices .

Chase has hired PR firms to re-brand themselves on the internet as “charitable” and “benevolent” through their “Chase Community Giving sites and Facebook Fan Pages (even though they disallowed “political” groups from participating in any fundraising).  Chase touts themselves as a green environmentally friendly bank.  Their greenwashing, social media branding and high powered PR firms can’t hide the truth about what Chase really does.  They are complicit in destroying Appalachia’s mountains, poisoning it’s communities with dirty water and ruining it’s economy by creating conditions that lead to the worst poverty in the country.

Today, we’re exposing that truth using tools on the internet that will concentrate tens of thousands of people on Chase brand they’ve spent so much money perfecting.  It’s time we amp up the pressure on Chase and take their money out of the coal industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Racketeering: The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (18 USC §§ 1961-1968) prohibits (1) acquiring, establishing, or operating an enterprise with illegally derived income, (2) acquiring or maintaining an interest in or control of an enterprise through illegal activity, and (3) using an enterprise to commit illegal acts (Extortion, Blackmail, Etc. , 31A Am Jur 2d).

As fearless nonviolent protestors occupy the corporate office of a life-threatening and violation-ridden mountaintop removal operation in the Coal River Valley, West Virginia this morning, hundreds of thousands of American citizens are jamming the social media networks today, calling on JP Morgan Chase to end their financing of arguably criminal mountaintop removal coal mining operations in Appalachia.

Al Gore may have called mountaintop removal “a crime and ought to be treated as a crime,” but God bless veteran activists Mike Roselle, Joseph Hamsher, and Tom Smyth and the footslogging Climate Ground Zero nonviolent campaigners who are willing to put their lives on the line to stop mountaintop removal mining. Read the rest of this entry »

wv_treesitFriday, January 29th, 2010

UPDATE – legal support needed! click here


Contact: 304-854-7372,
Note: For more info, see :

PETTUS, WVa—After blocking Massey Energy’s operations on the Bee Tree Permit for nine days, Amber Nitchman, 19, and Eric Blevins, 28 descended from their respective trees. They had occupied the two oak trees—originally accompanied by a third tree sitter, David Aaron Smith, 23—to protest mountaintop removal and the blasting of Coal River Mountain. Upon descent, they were immediately arrested by West Virginia State Troopers. The sitters’ decision to leave the trees was made in light of the recent drop in temperature.

After a week of Massey security harassing the sitters with deafening sirens and air horns, a call-in pressure campaign was launched by Climate Ground Zero, Mountain Justice and other anti-mountaintop removal groups. The receipt of hundreds of calls from around the country led to an emergency meeting with Climate Ground Zero volunteers, the Raleigh County prosecutor and Governor Manchin. The meeting resulted in the moratorium and a call for an investigation of the abuse.

The tree sit represents Climate Ground Zero’s most sustained intervention in mountaintop removal mining operations since its campaign of nonviolent direct action began last February. Read the rest of this entry »

“Coal River Mountain was the last mountain around here that hasn’t been touched and
they could’ve been using it for windmills…But Massey wants to get that coal. It
seems like they just don’t care about the populace. Just the land and their
– Richard Bradford

MARFORK, W.Va. – Protestors associated with Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice
halted blasting on Coal River Mountain today with a three-person tree-sit.  David
Aaron Smith, 23, Amber Nitchman, 19 and Eric Blevins, 28 are on platforms
approximately 60 feet up two tulip poplar trees and one oak tree.  They are located
next to where Massey Energy is blasting to build an access road to the Brushy Fork
Impoundment on its Bee Tree Strip Mine.  Their banners state: “Save Coal River
Mtn.,” “EPA Stop the Blasting” and “Windmills Not Toxic Spills.”

 Read the rest of this entry »

Contact: Zoe Beavers 304-854-7372

PETTUS, W. Va. – Early this morning two concerned citizens, Dea Goblirsch and Nick Martin, locked down to a drill rig on Coal River Mountain’s Bee Tree mountaintop removal site, effectively stopping blasting. Two others, Grace Williams and Laura Von Dolen, joined them in direct support, holding a banner with the message “Save Coal River Mountain”.

These nonviolent protesters have taken this action to bring attention to the extreme danger facing residents of the Coal River Valley from blasting near the Brushy Fork Impoundment. They plan to stay locked down until law enforcement removes them.

Resident of Rock Creek, W Va., Delbert Gunnoe, stated his concerns with the blasting, “You know when they put a blast over there, and it shakes the windows over here, at what, ¾-a-mile distance, imagine what it does over there.” Gunnoe continued, “if [the impoundment] did bust…what would be the destruction? The town of Whitesville would no longer exist.”

The banner hanging on the drill rig two protestors are locked down to.

The banner hanging on the drill rig two protestors are locked down to.

The four are fearful of the blasting that Massey Energy began in late October. These blasts are 200 feet from the Brushy Fork Impoundment, permitted to hold nine billion gallons of toxic coal slurry. The impoundment sits atop miles of hollow, abounded underground mines, further endangering its integrity. By Massey’s own estimates, roughly 998 people will die should the dam break. The emergency evacuation plan states that a 40-foot wall of sludge, cresting at 72 feet, will flow through the valley, reaching 20-feet-high about 15 miles down the road. Apart from the initial flood, the impact of this potential spill would be felt along the Coal River’s 88 miles.

“The Brushy Fork Sludge Impoundment keeps residents of the Coal River Valley up at night, waiting for eight billion gallons of toxic coal slurry to come rushing towards them,” said Dea Goblirsch, one of the two locked down. “I don’t know how Massey executives sleep soundly at night.”

Hydrologist, Dr. Rick Eades spoke of concerns about the stability of the dam as blasting occurs. He questioned “blasting where underground mines existed in the Eagle coal seam, the possibilities for adversely affecting near-surface bedrock in a way that could possibly enhance pathways for slurry to be released via the subsurface and bypass the dam.”

The concern is that slurry will break into underground mine shafts and blow out through old mine openings on the side of the mountain. This potentiality for Coal River Mountain mirrors the cause of the world’s largest slurry spill which occurred in Martin County, Ky. In 2000, 250 million gallons of slurry broke forth from a 2.2-billion-gallon impoundment, killing nearly all life in the Big Sandy River. Its impact reached all the way to the Ohio River, about 100 miles away.

A drill rig on a mountaintop removal site.

A drill rig on a mountaintop removal site.

Earlier this week, EPA sent out a letter to Marfork Coal Co., a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co., airing concerns about the absence of a valley fill permit, and requesting an extensive amount of information concerning the mountaintop removal operation on the Bee Tree site.

In note of this, Nick Martin, currently locked down, said, “The EPA’s recent action proves that the communities’ concerns about this site are shared at the highest levels of government.”

Matt Louis-Rosenberg, a Climate Ground Zero activist, adds, “Coal River Wind attempted to get a meeting with the governor for a year and it took people sitting in his office to get him to sit down and meet with concerned community members, just like it takes our actions up on Coal River Mountain to get the federal government to step in.”

The concern showed by the EPA reflects what the residents of the Coal River Valley have known for a long time; the Brushy Fork Impoundment is putting lives in danger, and the blasting on Coal River Mountain only increases that danger. The protesters on the Bee Tree site are putting out a call to action to save Coal River Mountain and protect all those who would be impacted by a catastrophe there. This action fits into a larger fight against mountaintop removal in Appalachia.

On the whole, Gunnoe’s sentiment was, “Don’t like much about Obama, but he’ll have one heck of a supporter if he stops mountaintop mining.”

Note: More information available at


As part of a national day of action 13 activists locked down at EPA headquarters and were joined by 50 coalfield residents

Published October 30, 2009 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Activists with Mountain Justice, Rainforest Action Network and other groups planned protests atEnvironmental Protection Agency headquarters and across the country Friday to demand the end of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

An online map showed more than two dozen planned events from California to Maine, including demonstrations at a regional EPA office in Philadelphia and a New Jersey office of JPMorgan & Chase Co., a bank environmentalists say is the biggest financier of the destructive form of strip mining.

It was the third attempt at a national protest since June, and evidence the environmentalists believe the tide is turning in their favor under the Obama administration.

”The end of mountaintop removal is almost here,” declares the Rainforest Action Network on its Web site. ”Political and financial decision-makers in New York, Washington D.C. and across the country continue to hear our message.” Read the rest of this entry »


We confirmed reports that Massey Energy has begun blasting on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has stated that the mining operation on the mountain is “actively moving coal.” Workers were seen throughout this past week moving heavy equipment up to the mining zones, and blasting and plumes of smoke were seen and heard near the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment on Friday.
The Brushy Fork impoundment is an enormous retention pond holding 8.2 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry waste. If the impoundment were to fail due to the blasting, hundreds of lives will be lost and thousands more will be in jeopardy from an enormous slurry flood.
A 2006 study confirmed that Coal River Mountain — which has the highest peaks ever slated for mining in the state — is an ideal location for developing utility-scale wind power. Local residents have rallied around this proposal as a symbol of hope, a promise of a new and cleaner energy future, but that hope may be destroyed unless quick and decisive action is taken right now.
Please call President Obama today at 202-456-1414 and implore him to use his agencies and influence with West Virginia politicians to stop the destruction of Coal River Mountain immediately.
Visit our Coal River Mountain action page for more details and talking points. We will also post status updates as we receive them.
Thanks for all you do for the mountains-and especially Coal River Mountain.
Matt Wasson

Grist article: Battle at Coal River Mountain explodes by Jeff Biggers

west virginia sit inHuffington Post good article: Coalfield Uprising Arrests at Gov’s Office: Will Manchin Defend Coalfield Residents or Absentee Big Coal?

Coal River Valley Residents Declare State of Emergency, Meet with Governor Joe Manchin; Seven Sit-In at Governor’s Office

Video: 7 Arrested in Peaceful Sit-in at WV Gov’s Office Resisting the Destruction of Coal River Mountain

Climate Ground Zero For Immediate Release Contact: Dea Goblirsch or Garrett Robinson (304-513-4710) Email:

CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Coal River Valley residents and supporters associated with Mountain Justice and Climate Ground Zero delivered a letter to Governor’s Manchin’s office in the State Capitol building at 12:15 p.m. today. The statement from Coal River Valley residents calls on Manchin to use his executive powers to halt mountaintop removal mining operations on Coal River Mountain, one of the last intact mountains remaining in the Coal River Valley area.
Read the rest of this entry »

walker drop wv
Senior March Day 3: Two Arrested for banner on Walker CAT; Police Intervene with March; Rising Tension

Contact: Andrew Munn or Dea Goblirsch 304-513-4710

BELLE, W.Va. – Two young people unfurled a banner which read, “Yes, Coal is Killing West Virginia’s Communities” off of the Walker CAT building in Belle, W.Va. at 12:55 this afternoon. The youth are affiliated with Climate Ground Zero and say they acted in autonomous solidarity with the Senior Citizens March to End Mountaintop Removal, are affiliated with Climate Ground Zero. The marchers passed the Walker CAT building on today’s route.

Gabe Schwartzman, 19, and David German, 18, were arrested by City of Belle Police and cited for trespassing on a structure or conveyance. They were taken to the Magistrate’s Court in Charleston, where they were released at 3:00 p.m on $100 personal recognizance. Steve Walker, CEO of Walker Machinery Company, went to the police station while Schwartzman and German were being cited for trespass.
Read the rest of this entry »

elders march for climate justice

Contact: Andrew Munn or Dea Goblirsch 304-513-4710

CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Fifteen participants between the ages of 50 and 83 set off on a Senior Citizen’s March to End Mountaintop Removal at 10 a.m. this morning. The march was preceded by a rally and press conference in front of the State Capitol building, and is sponsored by a coalition that includes Climate Ground Zero, Mountain Justice, Intergenerational Justice and Christians for the Mountains. It is part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign against mountaintop removal in West Virginia.

Senior Citizen March

The seniors are walking five miles each day for five days, ending at Massey subsidiary Mammoth Coal on Monday, Oct. 12. In a statement issued by the US Mine Safety & Health Administration yesterday, Mammoth Coal was named as one of ten mining operators that need to improve performance or face tougher enforcement.

The mountaintop removal mine and processing plant, formerly operated by Cannelton Coal, was bought out by Massey in 2004. Massey cut the United Mine Workers of America contract and reopened the site, located east of Charleston on Route 60, as the non-union Mammoth Coal Company. The decision was met with a UMWA-organized picket and lawsuits.

“Mountaintop removal is closing in on our home place in Coal River, destroying the ridge up and down the river,” said Julian Martin, 73, a coal miner’s son and Vice President of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, “I see mountaintop removal as probably the world’s worst environmental disaster.” Martin’s grandfather fought in the largest organized labor uprising in United States history, the Battle of Blair Mountain.
Read the rest of this entry »

Click here to listen to Micklem’s radio interview excerpt

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Roland Micklem is an 81-year-old military veteran from Richmond, VA. State police arrested Micklem and three others for blockading Massey Energy’s regional headquarters in an act of non-violent civil disobedience on the morning of Wednesday September 9. In his statement, Micklem announced his intent to lead a five day, 25 mile march for senior citizens, ages 55 and older, in a protest against mountaintop removal (MTR). Micklem and other participants will depart on the morning of Thursday October 8 from the state capital in Charleston, W.Va.. The march will conclude at the gates of the Massey-owned Mammoth MTR site in Kanawha County on Monday October 12, where those who choose to will engage in an act of non-violent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal.

In Micklem’s open letter, he states, “No substantial gain in our efforts to continually evolve into a more humane and caring society has been made without the willingness of individuals—with non violence as both a creed and a strategy–to step outside the framework of law and tradition in order to correct wrongs when conventional measures had failed. The abolition of slavery, the enactment of civil rights legislation, the right of women to vote, the termination of the Vietnam war could not have come about without the help of the same kind of non violent, direct, and sometime unlawful action that we are using here to stop mountaintop removal. And as a Christian as well as one who basically respects the laws of the land, I see the growth and maturing of my Faith to be in direct proportion to my readiness to stand for truth, and to embrace causes that will contribute to our moral and spiritual uplift as the dominant species on the planet.”

Micklem’s march is a collaborative project between Climate Ground Zero, Mountain Justice, Intergenerational Justice, and Christians for the Mountains, and is part of an ongoing campaign of non-violent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal. Micklem and march co-organizer, Andrew Munn, age 23, are planning evening activites and speaking events to conclude each day’s walk and educated the public about MTR and related issues. Larry Gibson of kayford Mountain and 2004 Green Party gubernatorial candidate, Jesse Johnson are among those expected to speak and participate in the march. Senior citizens who are unable to march are invited to join in for the evening activities. More information on programming will be made public in future releases on

According to Micklem, five people, including clergy men and women, are committed to the full march, and at least ten others will join for stretches. He expects more will join as word spreads.

Massey subsidiary Mammoth coal operates a mountaintop removal site and coal processing plant next to Route 60 east of Charleston. In 2004, Massey bought out Cannelton Coal, which formerly operated that site, cut the United Mine Workers contract, and reopened it as the non-union Mammoth Coal Company despite a union organized picket and lawsuits.

The good people from Mountain Justice need some help!

You have pushed the EPA to take real steps against mountaintop removal. Friday, September 11, the EPA decided that of all 79 mountaintop removal permits they were reviewing, none of them should be approved in their current form!

This temporary stay of execution is a historic step: the biggest any agency has ever taken to end the devastating practice of mountaintop removal. We have achieved it thanks to the years of organizing and outcry from you and tens of thousands of allies across the country.

But now is a crucial time to make sure that this temporary reprieve becomes a permanent change. While the EPA regional offices review the permits in their area, the EPA has opened a 14-day comment period.

Please take a moment to thank the EPA for this important step and ask them to stop all permitting of valley fills?
You can submit official comments at

Comments are needed by the end of this week!

You can find a sample letter below — feel free to borrow talking points, and to add your own personal comments for a greater impact.

(sample letter provided by Coal River Mountain Watch)

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