14 arrested for shutting down massive dragline on MTR site in West Virginia

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14 people were arrested today at the Twilight coal mine run by Massey Energy for shutting down the massive dragline on site. As dawn broke a group of 14 people approached the dragline. As part of the group gained the attention of the operator to get him to shut down the machine, a 4 person climb team ascended the 200 foot boom.

Suspended hundreds of feet in the air the climbers began to unfurl an enourmous banner reading, “Stop Mountaintop Removal”. On the ground the rest of the team was ensuring the safety of the climbers and everyone on site as well as unfurling other banners. After about an hour police came in and arrested those on the ground.

The climbers managed to hang on for another couple hours until workers climbed the draglines boom and began to threaten the safety of the climbers by approaching their climb gear. At this point the climbers decided to come down rather than risk their lives at the hands of aggressive workers.

This action is the first time ever that a dragline, one of the largest machines on earth, has ever been shut down in a protest, and is an important escalation in the fight against mountaintop removal.

“I’ve written letters, attended hearings and called my congressman, so far they have done nothing to stop the disastrous and unnecessary practice of mountaintop removal,” said Charles Suggs, a 25-year old of Rock Creek, WV who was one of those climbing today. “It has come to the point when we must take direct action to abolish this practice that is immorally robbing Appalachian communities of their culture, their health and their future.”

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22 Responses to “14 arrested for shutting down massive dragline on MTR site in West Virginia”

  1. 1 Watcher Jun 18th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    You failed to mention that the operator was rushed and attacked ,and was taken to a hospital, as this was witnessed by a state mine inspector.

  2. 2 danawv Jun 18th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Watcher forgot to mention that it is quite likely that information is untrue.

  3. 3 Watcher Jun 18th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I suggest its more likley the inspectors account has more truth than your account. You honestly expect anyone to believe the police officers stood by while the miners threatend the safety of the tresspassers ! The protesters put themselves in in danger! If I were the injured miner I would OWN the individuals and groups responsible.

  4. 4 Ethan Jun 18th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    supposedly the individual who was taken to the hospital had a history of stroke and was no where near the protest. He laied down on the ground to catch his breath and was taken to the hospital.
    I see no reason to deny the claims of the protesters that the mine workers threatened their safety. Hopefully the videos coming out will reveal the truth.

  5. 5 Watcher Jun 18th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Jama Jarrett of the Office Of Miners Health and Training says a State inspector saw a protester “pull the Massey worker off the dragline” = Eyewitness News good enough for me.

  6. 6 afrench Jun 18th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Seems like a great action regardless!
    3 cheers for well done civil disobedience!

  7. 7 Nick Engelfried Jun 18th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Watcher says: “You honestly expect anyone to believe the police officers stood by while the miners threatend the safety of the tresspassers!”

    And uh, yeah, I believe that easily. Police forces across the country have been complicit in the oppression of disadvantaged communities since well before the Civil Rights Movement. This may be news to upper/middle-class white folk busy living the American Dream, but should not be that surprising to anyone else.

  8. 8 Scott Jun 19th, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Watcher doesn’t know what he’s talking about and spends too much time reading the company newsletter. No workers were injured although folks on the ground team were roughed up by employees.

  9. 9 Watcher Jun 19th, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Scott I got my news from YOUR friend over at the Charleston Gazette .

  10. 10 Watcher Jun 19th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Now to Nick Yeah Yeah heard it before the police , the goverment ,everyones wrong but still oppressing you. Get over it.

  11. 11 Y-Not Jun 19th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Why not just report it to Obama? He’ll shut it down without protest from anybody.

  12. 12 Ethan Jun 19th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    well last time I checked, Charleston Gazette admitted that the reports you speak of were not eye witness, but 2nd hand. The inspector who supposedly saw this happen hasn’t been identified. The police who said the the workers were “roughed up” also weren’t present at the time of the incident. The sheriff also admitted that the person who was sent to the hospital was sent as a precautionary measure and the incident was NOT “altercation related”. I don’t really care for arguing with strangers on the internet, but it is important to get the facts out.

  13. 13 Mattie Reitman Jun 19th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    This was a great action! I’m gonna do what I can to help out for the action on the 23rd.

  14. 14 Ted Stein Jun 20th, 2009 at 10:35 am


    Here is some video disproving your lies:


  15. 15 hollergirl Jun 21st, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Watcher forgot to tell you that the “inspector” changed the story 3 times- that tells me that the “story” is untrue. Also–if you bid brave Massey men are gonna cry “battery” –when it was a GIRL that got past you- then all you big bad boy go on ahead!
    That drag line needed to be shut down–it is killing and poisoning people. Mountaintop remomal is destroyign our property as well.
    Teh rime of mountaintop removal strip mining is the most horrible environmental injustice today.
    Bring on more protesters. People outside of West Virginia are seeing the pure corruption that coal has injected into thsi state as well as the toxic sludge the OUT OF STATE coal companies are injecting in out underground wells. SHAME on you coal minions- both out os state coal companies and their local agents.

  16. 16 hollergirl Jun 21st, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I suggest that the protesters sue the media that printed the “rumors”- as well as the Massey spokesperson giving out false and misleading statement to the press- The press should know better. Now watcher continues to spread the misinformation – makes you very believe able watcher.

  17. 17 willie Jun 22nd, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    great action everyone! thanks for doing it! keep it up!

  1. 1 Root Force » Blog Archive » 14 Arrests Initiate Week of Action Against Mountaintop Removal Trackback on Jun 19th, 2009 at 7:39 pm
  2. 2 Dragline Climb Video « The Dernogalizer Trackback on Jun 21st, 2009 at 7:06 pm
  3. 3 Daily Kos: Mr. President, go and see for yourself « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Jun 28th, 2009 at 4:41 pm
  4. 4 The Understory Trackback on Jun 28th, 2009 at 4:52 pm
  5. 5 Mr. President, go and see for yourself « The Dirty Lie Trackback on Jul 7th, 2009 at 11:26 am
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