Climate Ground Zero: Activists In West Virginia Halt Mountaintop Removal For Eighth Day

Yesterday in Washington, DC, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) exhorted citizens to “get angry about the fact that they’re being killed and our planet is being injured by what’s happening on a daily basis by the way we provide our power and our fuel.” In West Virginia, climate activists are not just getting angry, they’re taking action — blocking the demolition of Coal River Mountain by coal company Massey Energy. The activists, members of the aptly named organization Climate Ground Zero, have been living in trees for over a week to prevent bulldozers from reaching the summit:

High up in the trees near the summit of Coal River Mountain, two activists dangle in the air near a mountaintop removal mine site. Eric Blevins and Amber Nitchman are still preventing the expansion of mining on the summit of Coal River Mountain, a mountain that has the best wind energy (and therefore economic) potential in the area.

In 2007, local residents commissioned an economic study of wind power potential for the mountain, which found it could “power 70,000 West Virginia Homes and provide permanent jobs and $1.7 million in taxes to the county every year.” Instead, coal baron Don Blankenship, the “scariest polluter in the United States,” intends to blow up the mountain for its coal. His employees have been blasting the tree-sit activists with air horns and flood lights.

Following hundreds of phone calls from supporters of the non-violent civil disobedience action, Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) met today with Climate Ground Zero representatives and “asked the activists to scale down their campaign.” His request comes just two days after state lawmakers “introduced — at Manchin’s request — a resolution attacking efforts in Congress and by the Obama administration to tackle the global warming problem.”