Coal Tattoo

Suit over Massey protests settled

Photo by Antrim Caskey

This just in from The Associated Press:

Anti-mining activists have agreed to quit trespassing on the former Massey Energy’s West Virginia coal mines to settle a lawsuit over a tree-sitting protest in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger issued the permanent injunction Monday. Her order bars five defendants from protesting at former Massey operations in 23 counties, among other things. The mines are now owned by Alpha Natural Resources, which bought Massey June 1.

Massey sued after protesters climbed trees and refused to come down for up to nine days at its Beetree surface mine in January 2010. The protest was part of a series targeting Massey’s surface mining operations.

Lawyer Thomas Rist said he’s also trying to settle cases stemming from protests in Boone and Raleigh county circuit courts.

Alpha had no immediate comment.

It’s worth noting that court records indicate the settlement has been in the works since early May, after activists won a ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort that protesters did not have to answer Massey Energy’s questions about who assisted or participated in peaceful civil disobedience actions against the company.

I’ve posted a copy of the order settling the case here.