October 17, 2008: Dominion 11’s court date in Wise County, Virginia

On September 15, 11 people were arrested for blockading
the entrance to a coal plant Dominion Power is trying to build in Wise County

Please come support us as we sign the plea bargain and make a statement to the courts and media on October 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Wise, Virginia, the seat of Wise County
in Southwest Virginia. We are being charged with 4 misdemeanors for the blockade,
with the exception of 2 individuals being charged with 10 conspiracy charges
for “soliciting and encouraging participation in the protest.”

For more information about the protest and the ongoing campaign, visit www.WiseUpDominion.org

September 15, 2008: Lockdown at Dominion construction site

On Monday, September 15 in Wise County, VA, about 50 activists
protested at the construction site of Dominion Power’s so-called “Hybrid
Energy Center”. The plant is really a dirty coal-fired
power plant that we are not going to let them complete. Ten activists locked
to steel
and other devices to blockade two gates at the site. Two of the barrels had
mounted solar panels being used to power LED lights in a banner that was raised
above the barrels, to show that there are cleaner alternatives to coal.

blockade lasted for about four hours and resulted in the arrest of the ten
activists who locked down and one other activist who was acting as a police
liason. All of the arrested were given the four charges of dispersal of unlawful
or riotous assemblies, criminal trespass, participation in an unlawful assembly,
and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with 10 counts of instigating
trespass by others. Apparently the authorities saw these two as leaders and
can’t wrap their brains around the fact that we have no leaders. We expect
many of these charges to be dropped. The activists were arraigned the next
day and had their next court date set for Oct. 17 in Wise.

If built, this
coal plant would increase the demand for mountaintop removal coal in Virginia,
dump more mercury pollution in the Clinch River, and would not be compatible
for carbon capture technology.

This action was organized by Mountain Justice, Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rainforest Action Network, Asheville Rising Tide, and Students for Democratic Society.

For more information on the action including
video and photos, please visit www.wiseupdominion.org.

September 12-14, 2008: Weekend in Wise, Wise County, VA

Come to Southwest Virgina for a Weekend in Wise, a Weekend for
the Mountains.
The people of Southwest Virginia are not giving up…and neither should
A chance to see the mountains and meet the people threatened by corporate greed,
and to stand together for a sustainable future!


Join us for a Weekend in Wise County, in the incredible mountains of Appalachia.
The weekend will include tours of Mountaintop Removal sites, service projects,
local music, hiking and canoeing trips, as well as trainings on how to
bring the fight for a clean energy future back to your own home town. Meet
folks leading the charge against the greed of coal and energy companies
by standing up for a brighter future. See the beauty of the land we are all
fighting to protect, and see the devastation that threatens the future

Where: Wise County, Virginia

When: September 12 -14
Why: To learn about mountaintop removal and to experience the beauty of Southwest
What to Bring: You, your family, your friends, a tent and sleeping bag for
camping (other options are available by request), a camera, notebook, and an
open mind.
Food and accommodations will be provided at no cost, but donations will be
gladly accepted to support local efforts. Travel scholarships are available
by request.

To all Virginian Climate activists, a space is set aside Sunday for a planning
session for Virginia Power Shift.

This is our opportunity to stand together, across the region, to say “No
Mountaintop Removal! No New Dominion Coal Plant in Wise County” and “YES
Clean Renewable Energy, NOW!” Together, let’s show Dominion that
we’re not backing down.

Events will begin on Friday evening at 8 p.m. and will end on Sunday at 5

Friday night will include dinner, a movie and an update on the state of the
campaign to stop Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County.

On Saturday morning we will explore the beauty and wonder of one of the most
Bio-Diverse regions in North America, canoeing on the Clinch River and
hiking in the hills of the Thomas Jefferson National Forest.

Saturday afternoon we will join many hands to make light work with a local
service project. Also on Saturday afternoon we will tour the areas of
Southwest Virginia most devastated by the cradle to grave impact of Coal,
from Mountaintop
Removal to Coal-fired power plants and waste disposal.

Saturday evening we will hear the stories of a few of the corageous Appalachians
that have taken a stand against the abuses of the coal and energy companies.
From West Virginia to Kentucky, Virginia to Tennessee, these are the
people that face the effects of Mountaintop Removal every day, and
have dedicated
their lives to doing something about it.
After dinner we will unwind with a concert featuring local musicians
and regional

Sunday morning will be spent learning the tools necessary to take the
fight for a clean energy future to our own communities.

For more information, rideshare and to register
visit www.weekendinwise.com!

September 16, 2008: Rally for Jobs AND Mountains, Charleston, WV

On September 16th, Appalachian residents – with the support of local, regional and national community and environmental organizations – will be holding a rally on the steps of the West Virginia State Capitol from 5-6 pm, calling for the development of a wind farm on Coal River Mountain. The rally will be a celebration of the amazing potential for renewable energy development and the creation of Green Jobs in West Virginia, and Coal River Mountain stands as a symbol of the transition that West Virginia must make in order to prepare for a post-coal, sustainable future.

Coal River Mountain is one of the last mountains left intact in the beautiful Coal River Valley of West Virginia. However, Massey Energy has plans to mine 6,000+ acres of the mountain – or almost 10 square miles.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to mountaintop removal mining on Coal River Mountain – wind power and underground mining. This is a unique opportunity to move our nation and the state of West Virginia toward the production of clean energy, and to preserve our nation’s mountains for generations to come.

But first, we need your help! Citizens from the Coal River Valley and across the United States are working together to create healthy jobs for Southern West Virginia, and clean, affordable energy for Appalachia. Let West Virginia officials know that we have a healthier choice for a diversified economy and safer communities in the Coal River Valley and across West Virginia.

Read more about the Coal River Wind project.

September 19-21, 2008: Appalachian Community Economics conference

How can we build an Appalachian economy that creates
local small businesses that make smart use of
materials close at hand? Come to a conference in the
mountains of Virginia to explore this question with
Appalachian Community Economics (ACE). You’re invited
to come share your skills and talents and learn from
others at the ACE conference in Abingdon, VA, Sept.
19-21, 2008.

Your skills and ideas need to be shared! If you have a
business or want to start your own, please come to the
ACE conference. Maybe you can make money on a hobby
or learn or teach about a grant or service. Share
information about startup funds or business planning.
This weekend could help you bring your farm, forest or
garden products into a new market.
Come and make new connections. There will be tables
for organizations located in a resource section of the
conference space, and a demonstration area to show
skills and economies that are already working in
Appalachian communities.We encourage your participation.

you are involved or want to be involved in promoting local Appalachian
economies, please contact us at:

[UPDATED] July 20, 2008: Four arrested at Zeb Mountain

| More photos | Read
a first person account from the march

**UPDATE 8/8/08** There was no jail time or fines imposed by the Campbell county judge today. Your generous donations helped pay the $1156 in court costs. THANK YOU!

Sunday, July 20, 2008 at National Coal Corporation’s
Zeb Mountain mine in Campbell County, Tennessee, four protesters were arrested
in solidarity with United Mountain Defense, Three Rivers Earth First!, Mountain
Justice, Christians for the Mountains and coal-impacted residents of Appalachia.

These brave individuals gave speeches of hope for solidarity
amongst miners, activists and entire communities that are affected by the devastations
surface mining for coal. Holding hands and singing Amazing Grace along
with more than 50 protesters behind them, they crossed the line onto National
Coal’s property. Once across the line police calmly handcuffed and arrested

Having already destroyed more than 1,300 acres of
Zeb Mountain, Knoxville-based National Coal has set its sights
on other peaks
across the state. Among the places it wants to mine is land in
Sundquist Wildlife Management Area, a public game preserve that drains into
drinking water supply.

One of those arrested yesterday was Eric
Blevins of Grandview, Tenn. “I crossed an artificial line today because
Appalachia is my homeland, and its life is being destroyed far faster
than it can regenerate,” he
said. “I wanted to open people’s minds to how insane it is that
we allow corporations to own land without loving it and keeping life

march began with a prayer led by Christians
for the Mountains
and included political theater, giant
puppets, speeches, and renditions of “Rocky
Top,” one of Tennessee’s state songs. It was organized
by United Mountain Defense, Mountain Justice and Three Rivers

| More photos | Read
a first person account from the march

What Can I Do to Fight for Mountain Justice?

  • Plan It – Plan meetings, actions,
    and Mountain Justice Spring Break / Mountain Justice Camp

  • Volunteer Work – On the ground, clean stuff,
    fix stuff, garden, mend fences

  • Research – Look at mining permits, find
    out what is being proposed and where, Coal to Liquids, so
    called “Clean Coal” and Carbon Sequestration fallacies

  • Organize – Long term placement in an area,
    working with youth, residents, building long term power
    that creates real improvement in people’s lives, for short
    term, support local organizers with listening projects,
    materials creation,

  • Lobbying – Working Clean Water Protection
    Act nationally (see www.ilovemountains.org)
    or on state level campaigns to end MTR and for clean energy
    and green jobs legislation.

  • Give Presentations/Pay Speakers – To
    churches through Christians for the Mountains, on campus,
    at house parties, show movies, fundraise to pay coalfield
    residents to come
    to your area and speak.

  • Materials Creation – Art projects, fact
    sheets, fliers, websites, brochures, posters.

  • Experts/Professional Resource Support – Find
    lawyers who will work for free/reduced, find university
    professors who can help with water testing and health studies,
    experts on hydrology (if you are an expert in this, then
    use your skills!)

  • Community Info – Listening projects, water
    testing, health studies

  • Action Planning – Planning, prepping, participating,
    prop making

  • Media Work – Filming, photography, writing,
    recording – especially
    at actions

  • Monitoring/Ground truthing – hike around
    with GPS to make sure the mine is within the permit boundary,
    track species living on a mountain before it is mined, look
    for toxic water spills after rainstorms – Hike around/4-wheeler
    to catch the company violating regulations.

  • Fundraising! – fundraise
    for community groups and/or Mountain Justice

  • Organizational Building – Record keeping, data input,
    filing, tracking media, campaign assistance, media work

Contact us to get involved!

Regional Contacts

July 20, 2008 – 1 PM: March on Zeb Mountain!


United Mountain Defense, Mountain Justice and Three
Rivers Earth First! ask you to march with us for
Appalachia. This is a call for you to take a Sunday
out of your life to help preserve some of the oldest
mountains and watersheds on Earth. March with us in
solidarity against the watershed annihilation machine
known as mountain top removal. This is a call not for
any organization or group – but for the Mountains of

When: Sunday, July 20th at 1:00p.m.

The march will begin with a family friendly gathering and
prayer in the parking lot. participants will then march
1/8 of a mile to the gate of National Coal. A prayer will
be lead at the gate and at this time
citizen who feel called to participate in non-violent
civil acts of conscience will have the opportunity to
walk across the gate of National Coal. If you would
like to follow the examples of Martin Luther King,
Gandhi, and Thoreau by participating in this part of
the march then you must come to the non-violence
training the day before.

Non-Violence Training will take place on Saturday,
July 19th at 1:00p.m. at the University Of Tennessee
in the Earth Science Building Room 400.

Where: March at Zeb Mountain, Campbell Co. TN

Directions from Knoxville and points South

Take Interstate 75 North
Take Oneida/ Huntsville Exit/ Hwy 63
Go West of Interstate 75 about 6 miles
Turn Right on Hwy 297 @ Pioneer Post Office
Go 3 miles turn left onto Lick Fork Rd
Find a parking spot

Directions from Lexington and points North

Take Interstate 75 South
Take Oneida/ Huntsville Exit/ Hwy 63
Go West of Interstate 75 about 6 miles
Turn Right on Hwy 297 @ Pioneer Post Office
Go 3 miles turn left onto Lick Fork Rd
Find a parking spot

Directions from Asheville and points East

Take Interstate 40 West
Take Interstate/ bypass 640 West around Knoxville
Take Interstate 75 North
Take Oneida/ Huntsville Exit/ Hwy 63
Go West of Interstate 75 about 6 miles
Turn Right on Hwy 297 @ Pioneer Post Office
Go 3 miles turn left onto Lick Fork Rd
Find a parking spot

Directions from Nashville and points West

Take Interstate 40 East
Take Interstate/ bypass 640 East around Knoxville
Take Interstate 75 North
Take Oneida/ Huntsville Exit/ Hwy 63
Go West of Interstate 75 about 6 miles
Turn Right on Hwy 297 @ Pioneer Post Office
Go 3 miles turn left onto Lick Fork Rd
Find a parking spot

Send housing requests or questions to:
umdvolunteerhouse [at] yahoo.com

– National Coal is the strip mine
corporation blowing up the three peaks of Zeb Mountain
for the coal beneath.
National Coal
has a terrible
record of over 50 violations on Zeb Mountain – including
one for illegally mining through two streams. National
Coal has wrecked
the watershed of Zeb Mountain – and the New River Watershed
is next if we don ’t
stop them.

Coal has bought over 75,000 acres in the nearby Sundquist
Wildlife Management Area and has the repeatedly stated intention on
increasing its rate of blowing up mountains in this Watershed.
Sundquist WMA is 84,000 acres of public access property offering
opportunities for deer, turkey, grouse, and small game.

The Sundquist is a Watershed for the New River. The New River flows
into the Cumberland River which is Nashville’s drinking water
source. Some geologists have suggested that this is the oldest watershed
on Earth National Coal is intent on blowing up. National Coal is intent
on blowing up a watershed that is one of Tennessee’s state capitals
sources of drinking water.

National Coal suggests that they are not like the “bad mining
practices of the past.” National Coal says that they are
a kinder gentler strip miner – not like the bad old strippers
of the past – National
Coal would have you ignore the 150 year history of mining
in Tennessee.

National Coal suggests that they are not like all of the bad evil
strippers in Kentucky, WVA, and South West Virginia. They shake their
heads at how bad it is there. National coal would have you ignore
what their industry is doing in the other states.

National Coal suggests that they can do a great job “improving” the
New River Watershed by blowing it up. National Coal would
have you ignore the incredible damage they have done to Zeb
Mountain. They
would have you ignore your lying eyes.

March with us and stand up to these corporate bullies who with arrogant
almost colonialist swagger assume the right to blow up the
watersheds and mountains of Tennessee. Rocky top is our state
song – not
blown up mountain top. Tourism is our number one industry
– clear cutting and blowing up mountains does not attract tourist.

March – and play music with us! Bring your banjo, fiddle,
accordion – art
skills – what ever you have. If you can play music and march
mountains need you!

I realized that before a people could be fit for offering civil
disobedience, they should thoroughly understand its deeper
implications. That being
so, before restarting civil disobedience on a mass scale,
it would be necessary to create a band of well-tried,
pure-hearted volunteers
who thoroughly understood the strict conditions of Satyagraha.
They could explain these to the people, and by sleepless
vigilance keep
them on the right path.
~ Gandhi

The March shall begin with a prayer in the parking lot before the
March. We shall march to the entrance of National Coals occupation
of Zeb Mountain singing and playing our instruments to the very gates
of what National Coal is turning into a vision of hell.

From there after a last prayer those who feel the call to walk down
the road and inspect the damage done by National Coal are invited
to do so. If you think that you are called to do this you must go
through the non-violence training the day before on Saturday. We are
offer an opportunity for non violent civil acts of conscience for
those who understand the power of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Henry
David Thoreau’s powerful examples.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much
a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other
person has been more
eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than
Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and
personal witness, we are
the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.
~ (Martin Luther
King, Jr, Autobiography)

in a critical period where the banning of strip mining for coal in
Tennessee is in our grasp. The situation is complex with a
series of strange allies, non traditional friends and a coalition
of people who hunt, fish and love the mountains because god
made them. As such we have some suggestions to maximize the effectiveness
the march.

  1. Bring an instrument – and learn how to play – “Rocky Top”
    – Tennessee’s
    state song. We are working on new lyrics.
  2. Dress up! Yep – we want you to come in your Sunday best. As
    best you can clean up and dress as best you can. During
    the civil rights movement people wore suits and ties all
    the time – so
    can we.
  3. When all else fails wear orange! We are the people of Tennessee
    and the song Rocky Top is about us, and so is the color
    orange. Just by wearing orange you can show that you are
    from Tennessee – and
    understand the importance of our mountains to our heritage.
  4. Respect. Show respect for the people who drive by, for the
    people who live here, for the miners – for yourselves and
    the people you organize with. There will be animal rights
    activist and
    Christians and Atheist, Peace Activist and Military Veterans
    at this march. Show respect for the mountains by showing
    respect for the diversity
    of people that come to defend them.
  5. Bring signs showing support for Tennessee’s mountain
    heritage, watersheds and the Sundquist WMA. We need art, banners,
    and you. Especially you.

The organizations sponsoring this event are committed to nonviolence.
Please come, but come with the understanding that this march has a
specific focus with specific tactical goals. By participating in this
March you are agreeing to our non violence guidelines and to follow
the direction of the organizers of this march. We have formed strong
alliances with non-traditional allies and it is important that we
maintain that trust beyond this single march.

Download Flyer

unitedmountaindefense [AT] yahoo.com for more information.
You can also call for more information at (865)
689-2778 or goto our Website
at United Mountain
. Drop us a line if you’re planning
on coming –
it makes logistics easier.

For the Mountains!


“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.

July 5-6, 2008: Mountain Keepers Music Festival

On Saturday, July 5th and Sunday, July 6th, the annual
Mountain Keepers Music Festival will be held at Kayford Mountain’s Stanley
Heirs Park . This concert is the premier music festival that celebrates environmental
justice in southern West Virginia. The two day event will feature local and
regional musicians playing a variety of bluegrass, gospel, country and old
time music, as well as children’s games, a pot-luck meal and silent auction.
This is a free concert that will celebrate Appalachian life and attendees
are encouraged to bring a covered dish.

The purpose of the concert, according to local citizen activist Larry Gibson,
is to show support for “human rights, health and water rights, and basically
everything that we have.” Larry Gibson, whose family has lived on the
same land for over 230 years, has been working to protect his health, his heritage,
and his community from the ravages of Mountain Top Removal. The concert will
be for remembrance of the homes and jobs lost, while also celebrating communities’
efforts to resist MTR and promote sustainable jobs for a better future.

Schedule of Musicians

Sat, July 5th
Jen Osha between bands
1pm – Jim Savarino
2pm – Corporate Orange
3pm – Elizabeth LaPrelle
4pm – The Pitzers
5pm – The Lonetones

Sun, July 6th
Willie Dodson between bands
12pm – Molly Andrews
1pm – Jason Neff of Slate Dump
2pm – Mary Dailey
3pm – T. Paige Dalporto

The festival will feature many emerging artists who celebrate their homes
and heritage. Elizabeth
will be singing with her mother, Sandy LaPrelle, on the fiddle.

Jim Savarino, who has played
at festivals from Iowa to Texas, will be performing Appalachain roots contemporary
folk songs. Keith,
Joan and Jake Pitzer
bring together traditional
and contemporary styles with down to earth lyrics. They play traditional Appalachian
tunes, Celtic roots music and original songs. The
Lone Tones
, a popular Knoxville, Tennessee band, have garnered regional
and national attention for their unique style, literate songwriting, inspiring
live shows and fine
recordings. The Carpenter Ants have
been around for more than 16 years and have evolved into WV’s premier
rhythm & blues group. The band has unearthed a wealth of classic and forgotten
American music.

Stanley Heirs Park is located near Dawes, WV, which is about 35 minutes south
of Charleston off of Interstate 64.

For more information about the concert: www.myspace.com/mtkeepersfest

There is a potluck Saturday afternoon so please bring a dish to share. There
is also free camping available Saturday night. Bring camping supplies, water,
and snacks if you plan on staying.

This is a drug and alcohol free event.

This is a free concert, but donations are welcome and appreciated.

This event is sponsored by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Student
Environmental Action Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch.


  1. From I-77 / I-64, take exit 79, Sharon-Cabin Creek.
  2. Go RIGHT at the bottom of the ramp.
  3. Make an immediate LEFT onto Cabin Creek Road.
  4. Go 7.5 miles to the “Y” at Leewood and take the RIGHT fork.
  5. After 3.2 miles, you will pass a white church on the right. Continue on for 0.8 more miles and bear LEFT on the one-lane bridge.
  6. Travel another 1.5 miles and bear RIGHT on the road with a guardrail up the mountain.
  7. If you look to your left, you will see some of the valley fills.
  8. At the summit, there will be a white rock and a fork in the road. Bear RIGHT and continue on for 0.1 miles.
  9. The Stanley Heirs Park is on the LEFT.