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Activists Shut Down Largest Mountaintop Removal Mine

Activists Shut Down Largest Mountaintop Removal Mine

This past weekend, 50 activists from around the country mobilized to stand up against Big Coal and Mountaintop Removal (MTR) in West Virginia.  Organized by R.A.M.P.S., activists targeted Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine, the largest Appalachian MTR site in the country.  Activists were able to shut down the mine for roughly three hours before 20 participants were arrested on site for trespassing.  Their combined bail currently totals $500,000.

Patriot Coal, one of three coal companies to recently file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has likewise been facing falling revenue streams predominantly due to the boom in cheaper domestic natural gas supplies. In light of this news, activists aiming to draw attention to the destructive MTR business that’s been both an employer and a contentious environmental issue in the region are also hoping to highlight the fact that union contracts and employee pensions could now be in jeopardy given the bankruptcy filing.

In an effort to appease both sides of the argument, protesters are asking the coal industry and the government to ensure that money is available to both repair and restore the damaged land and honor previous financial commitments to retired workers. R.A.M.P.S. spokesperson Mathew Louis-Rosenberg commented:

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.

MTR has been a hot button topic for residents of Appalachia for decades.  The battle between an impoverished community and a mighty dirty energy industry has led to insurmountable stress and tension. Sadly, the beauty that is the West Virginia Appalachians has arguably suffered the greatest loss, being vastly deformed and destroyed because of the insatiable desire for coal.  As a result, local residents have complained about everything from poisoned, undrinkable water to headaches and severe emotional distress, yet often in the face of unsympathetic government officials.

Activists, like those from R.A.M.P.S., stand to bring light to shady business practices in the face of unrelenting and oftentimes violent opposition.  The demonstration that took place last weekend at Hobet mine ceased coal production and drew attention for a few short hours.  Don’t you think it’s time to end MTR forever?

Below, watch activist Dustin Steele speak out about MTR.  Dustin is currently in jail awaiting bail.

Related Stories:

Another Mountaintop Removal Company Goes Bankrupt

Mountaintop Removal is Burying Bears Alive! Take Action Now

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Photo Credit: Calistemon

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9:32PM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

I really admire these protesters of R.A.M.P.S. -- this is what is meant by American rights. Part of being a responsible citizen, is to protest injustice. The land has been raped. Yes, they were technically trespassing, but mountain top removal is so horrendous to begin with. The mountain folk are b/w a rock and a hard place -- need the work, but the process has destroyed their mountains, rivers, health, their home. Coal is on the way out, and hard as it is, changing times mean workers must change, learn anew. This is not the first time in history that people have had to change and adapt. It's always been this way. It's a good demand to both restore the mountain and save money for the miners' pensions. I hope this goes through, and that the company head doesn't end up with HIS golden parachute and everyone else is shafted.

4:51PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Mountaintop Removal Companies and any political crooks who further their evil ends are domestic terrorists, and should be treated

7:59PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Doing what is right...

10:52AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012


8:30AM PDT on Aug 5, 2012

Another step forward for our planet.....Thanks.

10:57PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

I saw where another activist, upon showing evidence of the water problems, it was discussed by the panel whether or not to charge her with child pornography. I don't know what happened there. She offered as evidence a professionally done photo of a young girl sitting in a bathtub partially filled with filthy, reddish-brown water. I didn't see anything in that photo that would have led me to that thought.
Obviously, the opposition is getting desperate.
Unfortunately, we now have the ravages of fracking to contend with. Got to wonder how long our water supplies will last in this country since the process wastes milions of gallons per well.

9:01PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012


11:38AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012


9:48AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012


5:10AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Global Warming is the problem. If the fossil fuel firms would spend a little political capital to tell Congress to do the deficit spending needed to implement carbon capture and storage to save agriculture and civilization, it would take $4 trillion/year to capture and store all the world's CO2 emissions for 40 to 50 years but that would still be better than losing agriculture and civilization to global warming.

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