Second Massey protest results in mass arrest

FOR the second time in a week, activists staged a rally outside the entrance to Massey Energy’s Goals Coal preparation facility in Sundial, West Virginia. This time, 16 were taken into custody, including five local residents, in what the group referred to as a “peaceful protest ... for the lives of [our] children.”

Donna Schmidt

Anti-coal group Mountain Justice Summer said it wished to deliver a list of demands to Massey Energy officials, including an insistence the company close its coal preparation plant and withdraw its application for a second coal silo behind the nearby Marsh Fork Elementary School.

The group claims the coal company has a leaking coal sludge dam 400 feet from the school, and that the plant’s coal dust is entering the school’s ventilation intake system.

According to a statement on behalf of the activist group, five residents of the Sundial area crossed onto Massey property to hand over their demands and were promptly arrested. In a “beautiful act of solidarity,” the statement continued, additional protesters then crossed a bridge onto the property with a second copy of the list and were also taken into custody.

Names of the 16 arrested were not released, and the group began calling on its remaining membership yesterday to raise funds to post bail for those detained.

Activist groups Mountain Justice Summer, Coal River Mountain Watch and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition speak against mountaintop coal removal, and have planned a June 7 rally and march surrounding events at the Longwall USA show in Pittsburgh.

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