Coal Tattoo

Massey gets injunction against protesters


The folks from Climate Ground Zero reported on their Web site yesterday that a Boone County judge had granted an order sought by Massey Energy to prohibit further protests by 14 anti-mountaintop removal activists who took part in last month’s takeover of a dragline at the company’s Twilight Mine.

The group explained:

The Massey lawyers asked that the fourteen activists arrested on the 18th, anyone acting in concert with them or affiliated with them be prohibited from participating in civil disobedience on Massey property or the property of any of its subsidiaries. Recent actions have caused Massey to police their own property and follow heightened safety procedures (a bad thing?). Judge Thompson pointedly asked the Massey representatives if they believed an injunction would stop the protestors, who had few qualms about breaking the law in the first place.

In the end, the defense chose not to present, asking instead for a summary judgment. The injunction was granted by presiding judge William Thompson, who stipulated that it only applied to Massey and subsidiary property within Boone County, W.Va.. The judge predicated his ruling with a speech in which he referred to civil disobedience as the back bone of this country, citing the Boston Tea Party as an example, and then emphasized the importance of following the law.

The Associated Press has a report today on this development:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Massey Energy has obtained a court order barring 14 anti-mining protesters from returning to one of the coal giant’s southern West Virginia mines where they were arrested in June.

The order says the protesters face $10,000 fines if they return to Massey’s Twilight surface mine or other Boone County operations. The protesters include four people who scaled the 300-foot boom of a piece of earthmoving equipment.

Boone County Circuit Court Judge William Thompson’s order says the protesters have engaged in a pattern of trespassing at Richmond, Va.-based Massey operations. Thompson signed the order last week.

The 14 were protesting mountaintop removal mining, a practice that involves blasting away ridge tops to expose multiple coal seams. They face charges including trespassing, littering and battery.

Protesters were already hit by a similar injunction against their actions in Raleigh County.

In case you missed it, here’s the video of that dragline protest … you can decide for yourself how violent it was: