Hooray for the Riff Raff

posted by scott parkin

Hooray for our band of happy ragged folk
Tellin old stories and fireside jokes
Well, living for the music, the love and the laugh
Hooray for the riffraff

–Casey Neill

May 23, 2009 action

This weekend, Mountain Justice and Climate Ground Zero activists staged three coordinated actions against mountaintop removal coal mining in southern West Virginia.

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* Two women courageously donned respirators and hazmat suits and paddled via kayak in a toxic waste pond to float a banner that said “West Virginia Says No More Toxic Sludge.” When police arrested them they were charged with trespass and littering. Yes, that’s right for littering a toxic sludge pond! Paul Krassner once said it was the death of irony when Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s still not been resurrected in Raleigh County, WV.

* On Kayford Mountain, home to stalwart anti-mountaintop removal activist Larry Gibson, eight activists plus a photojournalists entered the property to chain themselves to mining equipment. Dropping a banner off a super-dumpster that said “Never Again” the team stayed for five hours before police cut them out. They were charged with trespass and conspiracy after walking onto the 12,000 acre Kayford mining site.

*At the most public action in Pettus WV, seven were arrested after leaving the rally to cross onto Massey property. 95 year old former Congressman Ken Hechler (WV-D) attempted to join them, but police refused to arrest him. “I’ve lived in West Virginia most of my life. I’m sick and tired of big business and the corrupt government telling us what to do,” began Sid Moye of Mercer County, who participated in the Picket at Pettus. “They come in and they can take our land, they can ruin our water and they can take our resources. It’s not right and somebody has to do something about it so we do the little things that we can.”

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* In an unprecedented escalation, WV state police put a $2000 cash bond on the Pettus 7 and the 2 women paddling in the sludge pond. This disallowed jail supporters to utilize a bail bondsman to get people out of jail. After 3 days in jail, it was revealed that the police had acted illegally and released all the activists on their own recognizance (and gave the money back for those that had already paid out).

5.26.09 Release from Southern Regional Jail

The action campaign that Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice is waging to save the Appalachian mountains has escalated. Now, activists are proving more willing to put their bodies on the line and spend time in jail to stop the destruction.

Climate Ground Zero’s encampment is a productive center of active resistance to mountaintop removal. The activists there are “clean, honest and friendly.”

All are welcome to come join the struggle. Many are needed. Please come prepared to help stop the destruction and work with Appalachian communities in building a better world.