Coal Tattoo

Judge Berger gives Massey order on mine protests


A day after the latest tree-sit protest against Massey Energy ended, a federal judge on Saturday issued a temporary order aimed at blocking future such actions by opponents of mountaintop removal coal mining.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger issued her six-page Temporary Restraining Order last Wednesday. I’ve posted a copy of it here. There’s also an opinion and I’ve posted that here.

The ruling specifically prohibits the following:

Trespassing or otherwise congregating on any mining properties in the Southern District of West Virginia, including but not limited to Marfork’s Bee Tree Surface Mine property in Raleigh County, West Virginia; and

Interfering, obstructing, blocking, impeding or tampering with any coal operating equipment, trucks, or other vehicles of any mining properties, including but not limited to Marfork, no matter where such equipment, trucks or other vehicles may be located in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Berger ruled as a result of a federal court lawsuit filed last Monday by Massey’s Marfork Coal Co. subsidiary. Specifically named as defendants were six five Climate Ground Zero activists who took part in last week’s tree-sitting action.

But the order applies to:

… Defendants, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those other persons who are in active concert or participation with Defendants (or their officers, agents, servants, employees or attorneys), who receive actual notice of this Temporary Restraining Order by personal service or otherwise …

Berger extended the TRO through Feb. 10 at 3 p.m., and scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 (this Thursday) in U.S. District Court in Beckley on Massey’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would be a longer-term court order.