Fri – Sun Oct 19-21 in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia – 2012 Mountain Justice Fall Summit!

Register at http://mjfallsummit2012.eventbrite.com/

Mountain Justice Rideboard

In the heart of the mountains of southern West Virginia.

The Mountain Justice Fall Summit will help you develop skills and gain valuable experience in the struggle to stop mountain top removal.

Friday night we will kick off the summit with an awesome panel of inspiring young West Virginia activists including Junior Walk of Coal River Mountain Watch, Rachel Parsons of Athens WV, Larrry Gibson’s daughter Victoria, and several more inspiring young people.

Following the panel discussion will be a screening of the new documentary “On Coal River” which takes an inside look at the lives of people living in the Coal River Valley, and their epic, multi-year struggle to bring attention to a 2 billion gallon lake of toxic coal sludge hovering directly above the Marsh Fork Elementary School.

Saturday will feature workshops and learning about mountaintop removal, coal slurry, community and campus organizing, non violent direct action training, and more. Saturday night we will have some live mountain music, a little dancing and a bonfire.

On Sunday we will visit the late Larry Gibson’s famous Kayford Mountain to see mountaintop removal up close, and to do a community service project.

The MJ Fall Summit will provide all your meals and there will be tent camping. This is a great way to get more deeply involved in the fight to end mountaintop removal – meet new friends who care about the environment and social injustice.

The cost for MJ Fall Summit is a sliding scale ($25 – $75) and you can register here:

http://mjfallsummit2012.eventbrite.com/

There is an option to remain after the weekend is over, and camp for the following week and develop more in depth plans and strategy to oppose mountaintop removal. MJ Fall Summit participants should be aware that tensions are somewhat high in the area over the MTR issue, but we are dedicated to peaceful, non-violent resistance. All MJ Fall Summit will be required to abide by the Mountain Justice non-violence policy.

Download Flyer


October 14, 2012: Celebrating Larry Gibson

Celebrating Larry Gibson:
The Life and Legacy of the Keeper of the Mountains
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Friends and family of Larry Gibson, the “Keeper of the Mountains,” will celebrate his life and legacy on Sunday, October 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium, located on the corner of Virginia and Truslow Streets, across from the Charleston Town Center Mall.
The public is encouraged to attend to help celebrate Larry’s life and legacy. You are encouraged to RSVP and invite friends to this facebook event.
Larry died of a heart attack on Sunday, September 9, while working on his family’s land on Kayford Mountain, which he spent the last decades of his life protecting from mountaintop removal. Larry successfully protected fifty acres of his homeplace on Kayford Mountain and he inspired people nationwide to take action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.
The program for “Celebrating Larry Gibson: The Life and Legacy of the Keeper of the Mountains” will feature family, friends, prominent activists, West Virginia residents, musicians and preachers. This event will be preceded by the annual Changing of the Leaves Music Festival that starts at 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 13th on Kayford Mountain.
On September 13, in a private funeral, Larry was laid to rest on the mountain that he loved. Larry’s family has requested that persons wishing to express condolences make donations to Keeper of the Mountains Foundation through our website or a mailed check. Cards and letters to family can be mailed to the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation office at 179 Summers St, Ste 234, Charleston, WV, 25301.
Larry is survived by his wife, Carol, two sons Cameron and Larry, Jr. and his daughter, Victoria. He was sixty-six years old.

The public is encouraged to attend to help celebrate Larry’s life and legacy. You are encouraged to RSVP and invite friends to this facebook event.
For more information on this event and donating or volunteering to help make it happen contact Danny Chiotos with the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation at [email protected] or (304) 205-0920.

Mountain Justice Activist Sentenced to 5 Days in Jail

Today at his status hearing in Kanawha county, Ducky (Nathan Joseph) agreed to a plea deal and was taken directly to south central regional jail to serve 5 days. He plead guilty to obstruction, and was sentenced to 5 days in jail and $100 fine plus court costs.

Ducky was one of Five people who, on May 24th, boarded a coal barge as part of the 2012 Mountain Justice Summer Camp. The action took place at the Quincy Docks, operated by Kanawha River Terminals in Chelyan, WV. Ducky and two other activists locked themselves to the boat with a banner stating “Coal Leaves Cancer Stays.” Before he took action, ducky said “If ‘business as usual’ does not stop SOON, there will not be an Appalachia left for our children or our children’s children.”

Ducky also said “I’ve found constant comfort in the knowledge that I took part in this action for good reason. Everywhere I look I see problems with the coal industry. Whether it’s the overt destruction of a natural landmark that should be revered or the blatant disregard for the health and safety of industry employees and community members.”

The other 4 people who boarded the barge with Ducky still have open court cases. Ricki Draper and Jackob Mack-Boll have their status hearings on August 31st and are facing tresspassing charges.

You can write to Nathan Walker Joseph, 1001 Centre Way, Charleston, WV, 25309-1001

To guarantee that the person you’re writing to will receive your letters: Address your letter to the inmate’s full legal name. You must include a full name in the return address as well or your mail will not be allowed in. Use standard sized envelopes and 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.


[[[[ URGENT – Support the Hobet 20 ]]]]

Urgent! We need donations of cash now to get 20 people out of jail in WV for acts of civil disobedience in shutting down a mountaintop removal mine site.

Twenty year old Dustin Steel was beaten by police, badly injured, arrested and has been refused hospital care.

We need to get Dustin out of jail today in order to get him medical care. All of these brave activists are being held on a $25,000 per person bail.

Help by donating now!

Donate now!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2012

Contact: Charles Suggs or Mathew Louis-Rosenberg
304-449-NVDA (6832), [email protected]

Twenty arrested at Hobet mine, held on $500,000 combined bail

Police allow extensive harassment of protesters

Barboursville, W.Va. – More than 50 people affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign stopped mining work for three hours on Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine in Lincoln County yesterday, the largest number of people ever to disrupt an active mountaintop removal site. Protesters walked onto the Hobet 45 mining complex; several locked themselves to a rock truck with banners reading: “Restore our mountains; re-employ our miners” and “Coal Leaves; Cancer Stays.” Twenty people were arrested and are being held on bail of $25,000 each at the Western Regional Jail. Multiple arrestees, including 20-year-old Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va., were reportedly beaten by authorities in custody.

The remainder of the demonstrators walked off the site when asked to leave by police. Authorities prevented their transport vehicles from driving down the public road to pick them up, forcing them to walk for four hours along the side of Mud River Road while allowing pro-coal demonstrators to harass them. After reuniting with their transport vehicles, they were barricaded on the road for an hour and a half by a blockade of miners in pickup trucks. A separate convoy of vehicles attempting to pick up demonstrators was blocked in by pro-coal demonstrators at a gas station where three individuals were pepper-sprayed. Pro-coal demonstrators were not stopped by police in their multiple attempts to block public roads.

“The blatant cooperation between law enforcement and the coal industry makes me embarrassed as a West Virginian. This brutality and disregard for safety is one of the clearest examples of the hold the coal industry has on the state government,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.

Earlier in the day, about 30 people gathered at the Kanawha State Forest with the intention of later joining the protest at Hobet. They were met by about 60 counter-protesters, but the tone turned non-confrontational as one miner struck up a lengthy dialogue with a local protester over the economic future of the region. Police arrested one activist who they accused of lying to them about not having identification, even though the only identification on him was a debit card–not a valid form of ID. After several hours, he was released with a ticket on the side of Rt. 94 far from any town and forced to hitchhike because police had confiscated his cell phone and debit card. An independent journalist was also arrested for photographing the incident.

Help by donating now!


Mountain Mobilization Shuts Down Largest MTR Mine in Appalachia

 rock truck stoppedMore 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.

Patriot
Coal is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which union
contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block.  Both UMWA
pensions and the state’s Special Reclamation Fund are funded through a
per-ton tax on coal.  With Central Appalachian coal production in the
middle of a
projected six-year, 50 percent decline,
this funding stream is increasingly unsustainable.  Protesters are
calling on the coal industry and government to ensure that funding is
available both to honor commitments to retired workers and to restore
the land.

“Coal
companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming all
disturbed land to the highest standards.  Instead of arguing about the
‘war on coal,’ political leaders should immediately allocate funds to
retrain and re-employ laid off miners to secure a healthy future for the
families of this region,” said R.A.M.P.S. spokesperson Mathew
Louis-Rosenberg.

Appalachian
communities, from union miners to the anti-strip mining activists of
the 1960s, have a proud history of confronting the coal industry and
demanding an end to its exploitive practices with direct civil
disobedience. R.A.M.P.S. and other campaigns have returned to this
tradition to eliminate strip mining once and for all. Since its
founding in 2011, R.A.M.P.S. has organized a range of actions, from
tree-sits to blockades of coal trucks.  

Today’s protesters are among the hundreds of people across the country who are joining this summer’s National Uprising Against Extraction, using radical tactics to fight oppressive extractive industries and demand a transition to a sustainable economy.


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 http://wp.me/p1anYj-4F


Back Country Skills Training

The Katuah Medics are taking to the hills of Western North Carolina the weekend of July 13-15. This skills track will take the medic skills you already have and supplement them with basic backcountry skills such as:

compass, map, and navigation
establishing shelters
backcountry hygiene
backcountry food and water
minimizing your footprint

This is a skill share, so folks with all levels of experience are invited to bring their talents and share them with others.

Email katuahmedics4u (at) riseup (dot) net by July 8th for more information (location, gear list, etc…) and to RSVP.

For more information visit http://katuahmedics.blogspot.com/
or the events page on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/LpMC4r



RAMPS Announces late-July Mountain Mobilization

Last week, Mountain Justice and RAMPS stopped nine coal trucks and a coal bargeafter the Mountain Justice Summer Action Camp.  These actions showed once again that people are willing to put their bodies on the line to stop the plunder of Appalachia and raised the spirits of West Virginians fighting to save their home, but Larry Gibson reminded us our work is not done.“Everything has to get bigger from here,” Larry said.  “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.”

Coal truck blocked from leaving Alpha Nat. Resouces mine on Kayford Mtn., 5/24/2012.

Larry is right. To win our struggles against the extraction industries, we will have to band together. The fight against strip mining has been gaining ground over the last few years (here, here and here), but King Coal will keep stripping to the bitter end and leave Appalachia with nothing unless we act now.   It was only after aggressive direct action in the 60s and 70s that the political will was created to address strip mining on a federal level.  If we want strip mining to end and restoration work to begin; if we want a post-coal future that is more than devastated landscapes, rampant fracking, and deepening poverty; if we want a healthy and whole Appalachia, we must escalate our resistance.

At PowerShift 2011, currently imprisoned activist Tim DeChristopher pointed out, “With only the people in this room, we could send 30 people onto a mountaintop removal site, shut it down temporarily, start to clog up the West Virginia court system.  And we could send 30 people the day after that and the day after that and the day after that every day for a year.  I believe we would never get to the end of that year because mountaintop removal would end before we reached that point.”

This summer we will take the first step toward that vision.  Come to southern West Virginia on July 25.  RAMPS will host a mobilization where people will prepare to take nonviolent direct action to shut down a strip mine.  We are calling for as many people as possible to come together and 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.

The success of this depends on your participation.  Whatever your skills, availability, or ability to risk arrest, there are ways for you to make this mobilization a success.  To join ongoing working groups or find out more about ways to participate, please email [email protected].  We also deeply need your financial support.  Please donate today so RAMPS can continue its vital work.  Most importantly, spread the word.

We are all in a David versus Goliath struggle for our future, but Goliath is starting to stumble.  With our survival at stake, we can unite and we can win.

Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival

Banner blocking coal haul road on Kayford Mountain, 5/24/2012.