Four blockade WVDEP HQ entrance, demand fed takeover, Sec.’s resignation


Protesters demand federal EPA takeover of WVDEP, Huffman’s resignation

Contact:  Mat Louis-Rosenberg or Charles Suggs 304-513-4715

CHARLESTON,W.VA.— At 9 a.m., four protesters entered the West Virginia Departmentof Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and locked themselves to the officeentrance. They are demanding that the agency hand over control of keyprograms to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Office ofSurface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and that WVDEPSecretary Randy Huffman resign. Around them, dozens of demonstratorsreiterated those demands. Inside the WVDEP, the four protesters aredisplaying signs that read “Closed Due to Incompetence” and “Departmentof Encouraging Pollution.”

Twelve protests in West Virginiasince February 2009 have demanded an end to mountaintop removal, andover 90 citizens have been arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience.

“Weneed people in the DEP that are not one sided and don’t work for thecoal companies, who do their jobs right and not with eyes wide shut,”said Tom Beckner of Pettry Bottom, Raleigh County.

This protest follows on the heels of two formal petitions filed by Coal RiverMountain Watch, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West VirginiaHighlands Conservancy, Sierra Club and the Appalachian Center for theEconomy and the Environment. The petitions ask OSMRE to take overenforcement of the Stream Buffer Zone rule and EPA to take overenforcement of water pollution limits.

After an hour, Laura Steepleton, Michael Bowers, Andrew Munn and Laura Merner were arrested by law enforcement.

For additional information on WVDEP incompetence, see
EPA petition:
OSM petition:
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