Tree-sitters halt blasting at ex-Massey mine for eighth day

The Huntington News reports Thursday two protesters associated with the portentous Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival Campaign, continue to occupy trees within the Bee Tree surface mine’s blasting zone, where they have stopped mining for eight days.  

The Bee Tree mine is situated on the aptly named Coal River Mountain in West Virginia and is owned by Alpha Resources, the company that bought the original owners of the mine, Massey Energy which last year was responsible for the worst US mine disaster in 40-years after keeping fraudulent safety records.

Huntington News reports The RAMPS Campaign is calling for an end to strip mining in the Coal River watershed because of the devastating cumulative effects of mining on drinking water, residents’ health, cultural resources, and air quality.  The tree sitters Becks Kolins (pictured on the left) and Catherine-Ann MacDougal issued an open letter to Alpha Natural Resources yesterday, demanding an end to strip mining.

The April 2010 explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine resulted in several lawsuits against Massey, led to the resignation of the company’s CEO Don Blankenship and the sale of Massey to Alpha Natural Resources.

ABC News reported in April that Massey Energy paid Blankenship more than $2 million in bonuses for exceeding goals on mine safety, even as the coal mines were piling up record numbers of federal citations and fines for safety infractions.

NPR reported in June Massey kept two sets of records that chronicled safety problems. One internal set of production reports detailed those problems and how they delayed coal production. But the other records, which are reviewed by federal mine safety inspectors and required by federal law, failed to mention the same safety hazards.

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