Image via: Chris Horst/Charleston Gazette
Yesterday afternoon Darryl Hannah, NASA Scientist James Hansen and former Congressman Ken Hechler were among 30 people arrested protesting mountaintop removal for coal mining in the West Virginia town of Sundial, reports the Charleston Gazette. Several hundred protestors gathered in the playground of a local school, which is less than 300 feet away from Massey Energy's Goals Coal preparation plant and slurry impoundment. When the rally took to the streets and protestors took at seat on W.VA. 3, cops came in and tensions began to mount, but no one was hurt in the scuffle. This is not the first demonstration this year, as protestors have repeatedly snuck into coal mining operations around the US and chained themselves to equipment in public protest.
Why Protest Mountaintop Removal?
According to James Hansen, and other protestors, if you're going to move towards green energy, you should get rid of the worst practices first and mountaintop removal is right there at the top. "Mountaintop is producing only 7 percent of the nation's coal and it's a dangerous practice," stated Hansen, therefore it makes sense to get rid of the worst methods and one that is a small dent in the supply.
In opposition, miners from the area blasted air horns, cranked car stereos and revved motorcycle engines to drown out the protestors and distract from the scene. Miners stated that this is how they feed their families and they are willing to take matters into their own hands if it comes to losing their jobs over this. The protestors were undeterred and stated that President Obama must also be undeterred by compromise and pressure if he is going to take meaningful action on climate change. Following the election, Hansen and his wife wrote a public letter to President Obama and the First Lady, imploring them to take climate change seriously and take immediate and definitive action on the issue.
Hansen and Massey Energy owner Don Blankenship have agreed to a public debate on global warming and mountaintop removal, but it has yet to occur. The initial debate was to take place on Tuesday at a radio station but Blankenship declined. Then the debate was rescheduled for Thursday on a local tv station but Hansen had already stated that he was unavailable later in the week. No word on whether a future debate has been rescheduled. :Charleston Gazette
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