Help support the Marsh Fork Elementary Campaign.

Please Forward Widely
Marsh Fork Elementary, support your fellow activists arrested taking a principled stand for what is right – Energy Justice and a new Marsh
Fork Elementary in Coal River Valley!
Donate to the Marsh Fork Elementary legal defense fund!

On Friday March 16, more than 100 Coal River community members,
students and concerned West Virginia citizens converged at the state
capital in Charleston, WV to demand that Joe Manchin build a new school
for the kids at Marsh Fork Elementary.
The rally came just days after the Surface Mine Board overturned the
DEP's decision to withhold a permit allowing construction of a second
coal loading silo behind the school. After more than two years
campaigning for a new school through every legal channel possible the
decision was a deep and personal blow for community members concerned
about the school's safety.

In a collective act of non-violent civil disobedience, thirteen
people were arrested during the demonstration. Although the activists
behaved in both a respectful and non-violent manner, some were dragged from the building with excessive force

and others were man handled. Among those arrested was Ed Wiley, who walked
455 miles from Charleston, WV to Washington, D.C.
last summer to raise awareness about the situation about the school.

This email is a shameless plea for cash to cover the legal
costs incurred from this action. Any donation, small or large, will be
greatly appreciated and go towards a running legal fund for
this and any future Marsh Fork Elementary campaign activities of this
kind. Click here to contribute via: PayPal or send checks to Mountain Justice Summer (please write MFE Legal in the memo section of the check)
P.O. Box 86, Naoma, WV 25140.

For video of the demonstration and background information on the school, please see below.

With great thanks and respect,

Snow White and the Dirty Dozen
Larry Gibson, Frank Young, Sarah Kidder, Chuck Nelson, Ed Wiley, Bill Price, Colin Cascia, Michael Morrison, Abraham Mwaura,

Winter Ross, Abram Racine, Hill Hosta, Matt "Ivan" Steifel – (for our beautiful mugs, see pic at bottom)


Demonstration Part 1
Demonstration Part 2
MFE Background from Ed Wiley


Marsh Fork Elementary (MFE) is a K-5 school in Sundial, WV, in the heart of the Coal River Valley of Southern West Virginia, Raleigh County. Whereas most kids can go outside and play during recess without having to be exposed to serious threats to their health, these school children attend class in a potentially lethal location. A coal silo sits just 225 feet from the school building and 150 feet from the school grounds. The silo is part of a coal processing plant complex that sits adjacent to the school. The school is also 400 yards downstream from a 385 foot tall sludge dam holding back 2.8 billion gallons of toxic coal waste.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the dam is seeping. Behind the dam, another subsidiary of Massey Energy, Alex Energy, operates an 1849 acre mountaintop removal mining site. In an independent study, samples of dust were taken from various classrooms in the school. Analysis confirmed that all seven samples showed coal dust contamination, which has been proven to cause respiratory problems, especially in children. The school has just more than 200 students and 21 teachers.

Marsh Fork Elementary School is one of the most blatant examples of coal companies' disregard for human health and safety.

We are asking for any contribution that you can make, no matter how large or small to help cover the legal costs of the action on March 16th 2007. Click here to contribute via:
or send checks to Mountain Justice Summer (please write MFE
Legal in the memo section of the check) P.O. Box 86, Naoma, WV 25140.

Thank you for your on going support. Together we're one step closer to getting a new safe school built in our community.

Snow white and the Dirty Dozen


Major Legal Victory!

On Friday, March 23, Judge Chambers handed down his decision in the year and a half old lawsuit filed against the Army Corps of Engineers by EarthJustice and the Appalachian Center for Economy and Environment on behalf of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Coal River Mountain Watch. In his decision he rescinded the permits for 4 surface mines operated by out-of-state coal company, Massey Energy saying the Corps has been permitting valley fills in violation of both the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.

The treeless green and gray areas at “Birchton Curve” used to be a valley.

Valley fills are the byproduct of Mountaintop Removal mining where the former mountaintop (or “overburden” as the industry calls it) is dumped into the adjacent valley, burying the headwater streams. A 2005 report stated that 1200 miles of these ecologically crucial streams had been buried in Appalachia.

The Corps does have a mitigation program to try and replace or repair disturbed streams, but there is little science behind the program. Judge Chambers wrote in his decision that the Corps “could not reasonably conclude that mitigation will offset the loss because it does not know what to replace.”

In addition, Judge Chamber was critical of the Corps for not viewing the cumulative effects of surface mines, but looking at only one permit at a time. The coal industry routinely files for adjacent permits in small sections rather than one big permit even though they will act as one surface mine site.

Read the Full Decision (pdf)

13 Arrested Demanding a Clean Healthy School

Videos Photos

Charleston, WV — Eleven parents, community leaders and student activists were arrested today while sitting in at the office of West Virginia Governor Joe Mancin. Their sit-in was spurred by a recent decision by the State Mine Board to approve a second coal silo near Marsh Fork Elementary School. Protesters were treating roughly and dragged through puddles of mud. About 40 protesters remain in the governor’s office. Marsh Fork Elementary located near Sundial, WV currently sits 225 feet from a coal silo. Residents say Governor Joe Manchin is shirking his responsibility for the health and safety of the students.

MJSB youth bring traditional mountain music to the governor’s office.

The coal silo operated by Massey Energy releases chemical-laden coal dust into the air which is poisoning the air that school kids have to breathe. Independent studies have found coal dust throughout the school. The school is also 400 yards downstream from a 385 foot tall seeping toxic coal waste sludge dam with a nearly 3 billion gallon capacity, over 20 times the volume of the Buffalo Creek sludge dam disaster that killed 125 people in 1972. A 1,849-acre mountaintop removal mine surrounds the sludge dam and much of the nearby area.

“Governor Mancin seems to believe that all he has to do is make promises while the children who attend Marsh Fork continue to breathe in coal dust,” says Bill Price of
Charleston, WV. “We are not interested in promises. We want a new school for these kids so that they do not have to breathe in polluted air while they are trying to learn.”

What we want!

“This is exciting that students and community members have joined together to demand a safer school for the kids who attend Marsh Folk Elementary,” says Sarah Kidder, a student at Glenville State College and a key protest organizer. “These kids should not have to endanger their lives simply by going to school and having to breathe in air polluted by coal dust.”

Massey has been attempting to build a second coal silo near the school, but the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2005 rejected Massey’s permit request for the second silo. On Tuesday, March 13, the state Surface Mine Board overturned the DEP’s order that blocked the silo.

“The situation at Marsh Fork is an embarrassment to West Virginia,” said Lindsey Warf of Bluefield, WV. “People from other states can’t believe this is happening in the

Contrary to Massey’s public claim that the silo would reduce coal dust, their 2005 air quality permit application associated with the second silo’s operation predicts an increase in coal dust emissions by three and a half tons of dust per year.


Call Governor Manchin’s office: 1-888-438-2731 (toll free) or 1-304-558-2000 and let him know that you and most of the rest of the world doesn’t believe small children should be made to go to school in the shadow of a coal processing facility.

Email the Governor’s office: [email protected].


Below are two videos from the rally at the state capitol on March 16. Residents and their supporters demanded a new school for the kids of March fork Elementary in their community.

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks to Tommy Bensko for putting these together.

Mountain Justice Spring Break

Students on Kayford Mountain

Charleston, WV

March 10th-18th

Hello Friends of the Appalachian Mountains,

Mountain Justice Spring Break (MJSB) March 10-18, in Charleston, WV is about a month away and things are rolling along! We are very excited that this event is going to be monumental in continuing to build the student environmental justice network in WV and around Appalachia. MJSB promotes educating folks about the socio-economic and environmental abuses of the coal industry, resistance through community organizing, and working in solidarity with grassroots struggles for justice.

Quick Recap of What the Week is going to Entail:

  • Workshops on the devastating issues caused by Mountaintop Removal (MTR) coal mining, and skills building for growing an accountable movement against MTR.
  • Community Service projects around Charleston to help support some of the awesome initiatives going on in the capitol that support equality in the area.
  • Documentary Film Fest hosted by Appalshop, including films about the beauty of Appalachian culture and the industry forces that continue to threaten it.
  • Mountain Justice Music Festival filling the air and your soul with songs of labor struggle, opposition to MTR, and the strength of Appalachia’s people.
  • Coordinated Direct Actions (accompanied with trainings) to express dissent and stress the necessity to stop MTR right now.

What you can do to Help Out:

  • Help us raise money! Consider donating if you have the spare change, reaching out to organizations in your community who may be able to help, or hosting a fundraising event for MJSB.
  • Help us do outreach to get more and more folks out to MJSB. Download and distribute our outreach letter, brochure, and posters to organizations or individuals that may be interested in coming to and/or promoting MJSB.

Register, and get any friends or fellow comrades who are coming to register so we can send out the necessary information you’ll need in the upcoming weeks, and we’ll have an idea of just how many people we need to lay the groundwork for.

Thank you for your time, support and solidarity,
We’ll be sending you brief weekly updates over the next few weeks so you can be prepared for MJSB!

MJSB Planning Collective

Campus Climate Challenge

January 29th through February 2nd young people will speak to their campus and political leaders about how the decisions they make today will directly affect the world we inherit tomorrow.

Picture life on your campus after we’ve all grown up and today’s political and campus leaders are written about in the history books. Will it be a future of hope or one of hardship? It depends on how we act today when faced with great challenges. Schools are planning a wide range of actions from those that convey hope for a future beyond the climate crisis to visions of hardship resulting from lost opportunities. Rising to the Climate Challenge is meant to be a week at the crossroads of action and inaction.

Check out the videos and photos!

For more information

Coaltrans Conference, Jan 31-Feb 1

Miami: Urgent Call to Protest Mega Coal Gathering

Jan 31-Feb 1

This is a call to take action & demonstrate against the Jan 31-Feb 1 “Coaltrans Americas” convention happening at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne, Miami’s “premier luxury oceanfront resort and spa,” located on the southernmost barrier island in the United States & 5 miles driving from downtown Miami … a perfect secluded retreat for 21st century coal barons, or ideal spot for creative protest actions they’ll never expect?



Do you live in or near Miami, or do you know people there? If you were aware that international coal-industry corporations are about to invade Miami, would you help take action & spread the word to protect human rights and the environment?

It’s true: There is a mega conference of coal barons responsible for land theft, “mountain-top removal” strip mining, and overall land destruction happening in Miami on January 31st and February 1st.

Mountain Justice Summer (MJS) is a network I am part of fighting strip mining here in the mountains of southern Appalachia. But have no doubt, strip mining and destruction of people’s lands and watersheds is happening world wide now. Indigenous people are fighting to stop strip mining for coal at Black Mesa arizona, in the 4 Corners area of New Mexico, in the Everglades of Florida, in Venezuela, China, Canada–worldwide. Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal is one one of the main causes of global warming, which we now know is a rapidly worsening phenomenon that will have catastrophic impacts unless we act NOW to create a sustainable culture (and stop “King Coal”)!

This is a meeting in Miami of all the coal companies ripping apart watersheds, polluting the atmosphere, and stealing people’s land all across the Americas (see below).

So — when the international coal executives meet in Miami at the end of this month, will you be silent? Or will you dare to stand up and demonstrate against this destruction? Will you show solidarity with people around the world who are fighting for our lives against coal?

Even if it’s just three people holding signs and handing out leaflets for an hour, we need to have some sign of resistance against strip mining to these coal industry representatives. If bigger protest actions can be organized, that would be tremendous!

If you can be one of those people holding signs and giving out info, or taking direct action–please contact MJS and we will help as best we can from our Appalachian mountains. The seriousness and importance of this cannot be over stated. We need some sort of presence at this conference if just to show solidarity with our comrades in South America. The information collection potential of just having people ATTEND the conference is amazing.

Please have people contact me, Ethan Green with Mountain Justice Summer, by emailing [email protected] or calling 856-535-5053, if they can help.

We have several local contacts in Miami, but need more–and what we really need is one autonomous individual who will go stand alone with a sign and info if that’s what it takes. We can build around that one individual. Please contact us if you know this person or you are this person.

[email protected]

In Memory of A Friend

“In Memory of a Friend – Jamie McGuinn”

Jamie McGuinn, a dedicated Mountain Justice Summer volunteer was tragically killed on Oct. 5, 2006 while riding a motor scooter near his home in Boone, North Carolina. He was 23. According to his mother, Cinda McGuinn,

“Jamie spent the last two years of his life fighting for our earth in the coal fields of West Virginia and here in the mountains of North Carolina that we call home. He had started to school at ABTech in Asheville and was returning to school after coming home to Boone, NC for his Dad’s birthday and a demonstration against a corrupt earth-destroying developer when he was hit on his motorcycle and killed instantly by a logging truck.

We miss him terribly and it doesn’t seem possible that this happy fun loving force for positive action could actually be gone. He loved to cook … he was going to culinary school and was really excited about it. I hate to think about the good he could have done if he hadn’t been taken so soon, too soon.”

Jamie will be remembered for his unfailing good humor, infectious laugh and his passionate defense of the mountains and communities of Appalachia. I remember Jamie vividly on the stage at the 2006 Heartwood Summit for the Mountains, playing – trying to play – Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall.” He was just learning to play banjo, and was doing pretty well, but he struggled with a few of the chord changes, and messed up just a little – so when he got the to Dyan verse “I know my song well before I start singing” he cracked up, and the audience did too. A typical Jamie moment.

Jamie participated in many of the MJS actions, including the big rally against the Kentucky Coal Association in Lexington and the Pennies of Promise kick-off at the Charleston State Capitol.

Jamie was loved and he will be missed. He is survived by his parents, Doug and Cinda Poole McGuinn, his brother David McGuinn, and his girlfriend Beth Huntzinger.

Mountain Links Fundraiser

Conscious Party

Benefits & fundraisers

by Rebecca Bowe
Make a connection with Mountain Links

Have you always wanted to dip into Asheville\’s activist dating pool, but felt too shy? Your big chance could be coming up soon. A handful of local activists from grassroots coalition Mountain Justice Summer is reviving an old-fashioned American tradition: the pie auction. They\’ll bake pies, and whoever bids highest on a pie wins the honor of eating it on a date with the cook.

A pie auction is \”how Loretta Lynn met her husband,\” according to Coleen Cronin, one of the organizers. The event, which will also feature a dinner of some decidedly nontraditional Ethiopian fare, will take place at Rosetta\’s Kitchen in Asheville on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. It will be a fund-raiser for Mountain Links, a community-resource center started up in Appalachia, Va., this past summer by three Warren Wilson College students who were looking for a way to help a community that\’s adversely affected by mountaintop-removal coal mining. The center provides \”meeting space, movie screenings, potlucks, a library, Internet access and anything else that can benefit the youth and community in Appalachia,\” says Cronin. The center also provides tutoring services and has plans to offer classes, workshops and a free bike shop.

A donation of $5 to $10 is requested for dinner, and the pie auction will take place after the meal, at 8 p.m. What\’s the going rate for a homemade pie (read: date with a person who fights for justice), you may ask? Think of it this way – you\’re more likely to impress them by donating a lot to the cause.

For more information about Mountain Links, visit