All 8 released from jail!

All eight protesters were released from jail this afternoon after a wonderful lawyer got their bails reduced from $2,000 each to $200 each. Thank you everyone for all your support and encouragement.

Words from some of the arrestees:

“We’re really glad for all the support we had and glad we did it,” Jacqueline Quimby said, who was one of four who locked down in the haul road.

Jonathan Irwin, a support person and medic for the action, said, “I am amazed with the degree of hospitality and support we received from West Virginians outside and in. We are blessed with such an opportunity to support some of North America’s oldest mountain ecosystems and strongest communities of resistance.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to be out and among those friends who worked so hard to get us out,” said Erika Zarowin, one of the four protestors locked-down at the mine site. She also reported that her “right shoulder is hurting quite a bit. The police kept pulling on my arm, not believing that I was chained in. Hopefully this won’t become an injury that I have to battle for the rest of my life.”

Maureen Farrell, locked to Erika, said “The action was amazingly successful, despite the many complications that come with an ever changing mine site. It felt great to lock down and stay strong, both terrifying and invigorating.”

“Thank you for all your support,” Ryan Olander, arrestee, said. “Not only were those on the outside instrumental to our success, but, also the people who cared for us on the inside; the inmates.”

8 arrested on Kanawha Co. strip job, $16,000 cash-only bail

Dear friends-

This morning, just before dawn, four individuals chained themselves across a haul road on a strip mining site in Kanawha County, West Virginia to protest mountaintop removal mining. Four more joined them on site in support roles, unfurling two banners, one reading simply “Stop” and the other reading “Stop Mountaintop Removal.” This action was part of the ongoing Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience.

All eight have been arrested and charged with trespassing asked to leave, conspiracy and obstruction. Bail is set at $2000, cash only, with no ten percent bond option. The arrestees include Ryan Olander, Maureen Farrell, Jonathan Irwin, Erika Zarowin, Andrea Lai, Alexander Lotorto, William Wickham and Jacqueline Quimby.

In order to meet bail, totalling $16,000, for these individuals who took a stand against an incredibly destructive form of coal mining and the human and environmental devastation of Appalachia, we need your help. To donate, please visit the Climate Ground Zero legal fund paypal:

This is the 16th in a series of civil disobedience actions taken this year by Climate Ground Zero, Mountain Justice, Coal River Valley residents, NASA climate scientist James Hansen, students, underground miners, military veterans, concerned citizens and environmentalists from across the nation with the goal of ending mountaintop removal.

To read the full text of the press release, please visit Climate Ground Zero.
Contact Dea Goblirsch or Charles Suggs at 304 854 7372 for questions.

Thanks and best,

Climate Ground Zero

CGZ Activist Sentenced to Maximum Fines in Jury Trial

MADISON, W. Va. – October 15, 2009 – In the second jury trial of the Climate Ground Zero campaign, Mat Louis-Rosenberg appeared before Boone County Magistrate Byrneside to plead a necessity defense on counts of trespassing and conspiracy.

On May 23, Louis-Rosenberg and seven others were arrested after locking themselves down to rock trucks on Kayford Mountain, halting work for four hours. Appearing before a jury, Louis-Rosenberg faced the risk of up to 18 months in jail.

Despite hearing evidence that Louis-Rosenberg was never asked to leave the site, the jury convicted Louis-Rosenberg on both charges and, while not incarcerated, he was sentenced to the maximum penalties of $1,500 plus court costs which brought the total to over $2,700. Six other activists that participated in the lockdown plead no contest and received maximum fines and court costs of $1844. After trial, Louis-Rosenberg returned to Rock Creek to appear on a panel at the Mountain Justice Fall Summit, a weekend of service and education focused around ending the devastation of mountaintop removal.

In a statement before his trial, Louis-Rosenberg explained why he wished to appear before a jury. “This campaign, just like the civil rights movement and many other struggles for change, is founded on a strategy of non-violent civil disobedience. And just like the civil rights movement, it draws its strength and its power from the willingness of ordinary people to take extraordinary risks and sacrifices because of the strength of their beliefs.

“My conscience demands that I stand up in that court room and explain to the people of Boone County why I did what I did. I will not contest the facts of what happened, but rather assert my belief that what I did was right, that I was stopping a far greater crime than I was committing. And if I go to jail because of it, I know that I go as many have gone before me, in defense of my friends, this land and my convictions.”