“I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of
young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing
them from constructing coal-fired power plants.” –
President Al Gore, August 16, 2007, New York Times

On the morning of June 30, 2008 , twelve
activists from Blue Ridge Earth First! and Mountain Justice
were arrested
in Richmond, Virginia while
in a blockade
Dominion property on Tredegar Street. The blockade was to protest the
development of Dominion’s
coal-fired power plant
in Wise County, VA and the construction of
new reactors at the Lake
nuclear facility (photos).

“Protest beyond the
law is not a departure from democracy. It is absolutely
to it.”
– Howard Zinn, Historian

All twelve activists
have been released on bail. The activists could face
up to 18 months in
jail as well as penalties up
to $3,500 each.

“It seems to me that
young people, especially, should be doing whatever is
necessary to block construction
of dirty coal-fired power plants.”
James Hansen, Head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

The trial date is set for July 29, 2008. Richmond Commonwealth’s
Attorney Michael N. Herring said that he will seek jail time
for the protesters
to “send the right

Please help these courageous
frontline activists today by donating whatever you
can to their defense!

(or send checks/money orders to
Mountain Justice Summer (“Dominion Action” in the memo section)
Box 86
Naoma, WV 25140)

Below is the action press release sent to local media:

Early this morning activists with Blue Ridge Earth First!
(BREF!) and Mountain Justice (MJ) blockaded the entrance to
Dominion’s corporate
headquarters on Tredegar St. in Downtown Richmond. They are protesting
Dominion’s promotion of new coal and nuclear facilities as solutions to
climate change. The blockade consists of four activists locked to a
weighted barrel and a fifth suspended above the road.

While other states like Florida, Kansas and Texas have canceled
plans for new coal plants, Dominion plans to begin construction
this week on
a new, 585 MW plant in Wise County, Virginia.

“Accelerating the rate of mountaintop removal mining to
supply the citizens of Virginia with dirty energy is an irresponsible use of
the most valuable resources of this Commonwealth.
This is an issue of environmental destruction and a crime against
public health. Dominion should further conservation and efficiency
measures and develop solar, wind, and other renewable sources of power
in order to do justice to the land and the people of Virginia.”

This blockade is the latest action from BREF! and MJ in the campaign
against the new, coal plant in St. Paul, Va, and a direct response to
last week’s decision from the Citizen’s Air Control Board to approve
the final two permits required for Dominion to begin construction.
While the Air Board reduced the permitted emissions of Dominion’s
proposed plant, its members declined to address pressing issues raised
by over a hundred concerned Virginians at the June 24 hearing.

BREF! and Mountain Justice hold that when corporations, politicians,
and regulatory agencies risk the health of communities for the sake of
profit, measures beyond the accepted political avenues must be used to
ensure environmental justice. Non-violent civil disobedience, like
today’s, is an important part of citizen action to better our world.

Already, strip mining and mountaintop removal mining for coal have
permanently razed over 25% of Wise County VA’s land mass. The practice
has buried over 1,200 miles of headwater streams across Appalachia,
leaving leveled mountains and poisoned communities. BREF! and MJ see
the Dominion plant as a direct threat to the people and mountains of

Today’s action is also in protest of Dominion’s plans to expand their
nuclear facilities at the North Anna plant in Louisa Co., VA. Both
nuclear and “clean coal” are false solutions to the specter of global
climate chaos. The impact of uranium mining, radioactive waste
disposal, and nuclear plant operations on communities across the
Southeast are unacceptable trade-offs for the continuation of business
as usual energy policy. Renewable, decentralized energy, efficiency,
and conservation are the real solutions to climate change that must be
pursued by Dominion, Virginia, and the United States.
BREF! And MJS are dedicated to holding the blockade until Dominion
agrees to build no new nuclear facilities, to halt construction of the
Wise Co. plant, and cease burning MTR coal in existing plants.

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