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5 activists with Mountain Justice, Ramps Campaign and Rising Tide North America were arrested this morning while delivering a message to billionaire coal baron, Jim Justice: Clean Up Your Act, now! Today they’re being held in the Roanoke Jail, but you can help support these folks, this action, and any more that may come in the ongoing effort to hold coal barons accountable for the destruction of Appalachia, by donating now to the Mountain Justice legal defense fund.

Mountain Justice has worked for 10 years to support a diversity of tactics in the effort to stop the destruction of Appalachian communities, from petition drives to non-violent direct action. The MJ Legal Defense fund has, and will continue to offer support to anyone who’s freedom is put on the line in defense of mountains. This Fund is wholly supported by individual donations from people that know that every action can move the needle a little bit, and keeps us on the path to an end of mountaintop removal. 


Banner Suspended Above Downtown Roanoke, Calls On Billionaire To Clean Up His Act

     20140904_092658More Pictures below, and HD available upon request. Contact: Kim Ellis, (310) 560-2915 or Erin Mckelvy, (540) 808-6221

 

Updates:

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10:15 AM – Five activists arrested and taken away in association with the banner hang this morning. Waiting to hear their charges. Two fire trucks responded to the scene and have removed the banner.

 

Banner Suspended Above Downtown Roanoke, Calls On Billionaire To Clean Up His Act

National groups call on Jim Justice to pay for his plunder

Roanoke, VA – Early this morning members of Mountain Justice, Rising Tide North America and Radical Action for Mountain and People’s Survival (RAMPS) hung a banner, suspended between two downtown buildings on Jefferson street in Roanoke. The groups are acting in support of community demands in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee that billionaire coal baron Jim Justice stop poisoning water, exposing communities to devastating mountaintop removal coal mining operations and leaving central Appalachia a public health disaster. The banner reads; “Jim Justice Profits, Appalachia Pays.” and “Jim Justice, Toxic Spill Billionaire”.

The activists hanging the banner are with Mountain Justice, a regional group committed to an end of Mountaintop Removal and a just economic transition for Appalachia. They are joined by RAMPS, based in West Virginia, and Rising Tide North America, an international network of grassroots groups focused on stopping climate change.

Erin Mckelvy, of Lee County Virginia and a member of Mountain Justice spoke to reporters on the scene, “ There’s a lot of people out of work across the coalfields today, in part because of the bad business planning done by people like Jim Justice. Justice has the means to properly clean up these sites, and we think Justice’s part in destroying Appalachia’s mountains needs to end yesterday. How much more does one person need? Appalachia needs a new path forward, and Jim Justice should join us, or get out of the way.”

D. Steele, with RAMPS in West Virginia said: “I’m taking this action today to keep the bright light shining on Jim Justice and the ways that his coal mining operations hurt communities. From damaged house foundations to poisoned streams, violated permits to unpaid workers, billionaire coal operator Jim Justice is making millions from the exploitation of Appalachia’s people, forests, and mountains. He needs to clean up his act now, and commit to giving back to the communities that have given him so much.”

Today’s action comes after weeks of bad news for the Justice Group and Roanoke-based Southern Coal. From $9.9 million in new bonding fees, and fines of over a million dollars in Kentucky, to cessation orders in Tennessee and bond forfeitures in Virginia, Justice’s corner-cutting practices across the region show that community concerns are grounded in reality. Mountain Justice and allies call on people to support the groups most impacted by Jim Justice, like the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards in Virginia, in their push to hold the billionaire responsible for the damage he’s caused.

Today’s action is part of a long tradition of non-violent civil disobedience addressing social justice and environmental issues. Like in the civil rights era and movements to stop the destruction of forests, oceans and the climate, regulatory and political solutions to stopping mountaintop removal have proven ineffective and people working to stop the destruction of Appalachia’s Mountains have taken the next logical step in confronting coal barons like Jim Justice.

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Mountain Justice is a regional Appalachian network committed to ending mountaintop removal.

 

Radical Action Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS) is a direct action group working to stop mountaintop removal in southern West Virginia

 

Rising Tide North America is an all-volunteer climate justice network working to confront the root causes of climate change.

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Activists being held in police custody in Bristol, VA need your support!

This morning, eight activists with Mountain Justice and the RAMPS Campaign were arrested during a protest of Alpha Natural Resources, at their corporate headquarters in Bristol, VA. After a two hour blockade and high-flying redecoration of a flag pole, at least five people supporting the protest were arrested, in addition to the three committing civil disobedience by blocking the corporate office.

Alpha blockade

These eight people are being held by the Bristol Police, and we’re awaiting details of their condition, charges and bail amounts. We ask you to support the movement to end mountaintop removal, and to help save the few unblasted mountains left in our region, by donating to the Mountain Justice Legal Defense fund in support of today’s action.

Mountain Justice has worked for 10 years to support a diversity of tactics in the effort to stop the destruction of Appalachian communities, from petition drives to non-violent direct action. The MJ Legal Defense fund has, and will continue to offer support to anyone who’s freedom is put on the line in defense of mountains. This Fund is wholly supported by individual donations from people that know that every action can move the needle a little bit, and keeps us on the path to an end of mountaintop removal.

We wont stop until you do


Activists Blocking Bristol Offices of Alpha Natural Resources

Update, 10:45 AM.

Eight Activists Arrested In Blockade of Alpha Natural Resources Corporate HQ

Three activists, demanding an end to mountaintop removal, block entrance to corporate office, stop business as usual, hang banner from flag pol

June 20, 2014 — Bristol, VA. Eight activists are currently in custody in Bristol after a two hours long blockade of Alpha’s HQ in Bristol, VA.  Two activists with Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People’s Survival (RAMPS) spent the morning blocking entrance to the office. One hung with a banner from a flag pole, it read “Save Coal River Mountain” .  RAMPS and Mountain Justice took the action in protest of Alpha’s devastating practices of mountaintop removal coal mining. Specifically, the groups are protesting the opening of new mines on Coal River Mountain in Southern West Virginia.

 

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Activists Blockade Alpha Natural Resources

Three activists demanding an end to mountaintop removal, block entrance to corporate office, stop business as usual.

June 20, 2014 — Bristol, VA. Three activists with Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People’s Survival (RAMPS) are currently stopping business as usual at Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, VA, in protest of Alpha’s devastating practices of mountaintop removal coal mining. Activists were protesting the opening of new mines on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. Two protestors are locked in front of the front doors of the office, while a third is hanging from a flag pole displaying a banner that reads “Save Coal River Mountain”

“That mountain is the mountain I learned to hunt on, it’s the mountain that’s sustained my family for generations.  I’ll be a dead man before I see them take what’s left up there,” said

Junior Walk, of West Virginia. Walk lives in the Coal River Valley, directly below Alpha operations on Coal River Mountain. Alpha recently began blasting on the 264 acre Collins Fork mine.  Local residents and activists have opposed surface mining on Coal River Mountain since the late 1990s.

“I am here today to demand an end to Alpha’s role in the destruction of Appalachia. While coal is exported and profits leave the region, the health effects remain in the communities,”  said Camilo Pereira, one of the protestors blocking the office. Two of the protesters in a lockbox at the front door of Alpha’s headquarters and blocked the entrance.

While coal production has decreased nationwide in the past years, coal exports are at an all-time high.  The overwhelming majority of coal extracted from Coal River Mountain is metallurgical coal used primarily to produce steel and is likely bound for export markets. Adam Hall, of Glen Daniel, WV, said, “As a country, we have made great strides against the dangers of coal fired power plants. However, new emission regulations will not stop Alpha from blowing up Coal River Mountain and endangering my home and family.”

More than 20 peer-reviewed studies demonstrate a connection between mountaintop removal coal mining operations and increased cases of lung and heart diseases, as well as increased birth defects, early mortality, and depression.

 

The RAMPS Campaign’s ongoing work against Alpha Natural Resources demands an end to Alpha’s mountaintop removal practices in Appalachia. Furthermore, RAMPS urges the company to re-employ miners for effective and thorough reclamation of retired and abandoned mine sites.
Photos of today’s protest can be found here when available: flickr.com/photos/mountainjusticephotos