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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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