Coal Tattoo

Four arrested in blockade at Massey regional HQ

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Four protesters who briefly blocked a road at Massey Energy’s regional headquarters have been arrested, according to The Associated Press and a statement from the group Climate Ground Zero.

Here’s the AP report by Vicki Smith:

The Boone County sheriff’s department confirmed Wednesday morning that it was in the process of charging four men who had linked their arms together using plastic pipes wrapped in duct tape and other materials.

The men, who range in age from 22 to 81, were cut free and detained after their pre-dawn protest near Julian, off U.S. 119.

They are affiliated with Climate Ground Zero, an environmental group that has staged protests against Richmond, Va.-based Massey and its mountaintop removal mining operations in Appalachia.

Climate Ground Zero spokesman Charles Suggs says an independent journalist was also detained.

Updated: Here’s an update report from AP — 

Four people protesting Massey Energy’s mountaintop removal mining practices were arrested Wednesday after linking their arms together with plastic pipe and duct tape, briefly blocking a private road to a coal company office in southern West Virginia.

The Boone County sheriff’s department confirmed Wednesday that it was in the process of charging the four men, who range in age from 22 to 81, but the nature of the charges was not immediately available.

The protesters are affiliated with Climate Ground Zero, an environmental group that has been staging acts of civil disobedience against Richmond, Va.-based Massey all year from its base in Rock Creek.

Last week, protesters staged a six-day tree-sitting action that temporary halted blasting operations at the Edwight mine near Pettry Bottom in Raleigh County. Four people were arrested.

The protest Wednesday was on a private road near Julian, off U.S. 119.

Climate Ground Zero identified those involved as Roland Micklem, 81, of Savannah, N.Y.; Joseph Hamsher, 22, of Charleston; James McGuinness, 53, who has been living in Rock Creek since last winter; and Fred Williamson, 75, a veteran protester who has spent more than 30 years on the road and has no permanent address.

In a prepared statement, Micklem said God did not intend for the mountains to be destroyed to make a few people rich, so he is organizing a 25-mile senior citizens’ march for early October.

“This should not be solely a young person’s campaign,” he said. “Now that they have provided the example and inspiration, we seniors need to make a statement with our own actions and share the risks that are part of this ongoing effort to stop the obliteration of West Virginia’s mountains.”

A fifth person, identified by Climate Ground Zero spokesman Charles Suggs as independent journalist Flux Rostrum, was also detained Wednesday.

Massey did not immediately comment on the latest protest, which comes just two days after a pro-coal rally that Massey helped sponsor.

The Labor Day Friends of America rally on a former strip mine site near Holden in Logan County was designed to oppose climate-change legislation that could affect the coal industry. It drew about 70,000 people, many lured by a free concert featuring Hank Williams Jr. and others.

Massey, which operates mines in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, said the event cost about $1 million.

And here’s the YouTube video from Climate Ground Zero: