Recap of Climate Ground Zero action that put Mike Roselle in jail these last four days since Thanksgiving.
The vigil began on Monday November 24 on the steps of West Virginia’s State Capitol, Charleston. Climate Ground Zero activists laid a banner that read “Mountain Blasting Kills” on the steps to the Liberty Bell replica and placed two containers of dust, coal, shale, and toxic residue spoils left behind on the stumps of mountains blasted by the coal companies.
The point was that the spoils they carried from mountain top removal rampages were callously and illegally left behind, the residues of blasting powder to infiltrate the soil, water, food, property, businesses, schools — the very air breathed every moment of every day — in Appalachia. Specifically, the three brought the dust collected to hand over to the lawmakers and to the WV Department of Environmental Protection for analysis. They stood vigil quietly for four days in the cold and snow to hand over the toxic samples they had gathered for the WV DEP for analysis and proof to state lawmakers as evidence that the Coal companies are violating federal and state laws.
On Thursday November 28, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving at home in Rock Creek, West Virginia, Mike Roselle (ironically choosing to fast for the duration of the action), Guin McGuinnes, and Mike Cherin held fast as they continued to wait patiently to hand deliver the dust to state officials. Thursday afternoon, the activists moved their vigil to the publicly owned and maintained Governor’s mansion, hoping to present the samples to him at home, or at least to leave the substance on his doorstep. Upon pressing the door bell, Roselle engaged in a brief description by intercom about why they were there with a voice from inside the mansion who said someone would be with him shortly.
Indeed, a capitol security official and then police officers were with them shortly, told Roselle to pick up the jar on the doorstep and take it away. After coming all this way with the sample for the state lawmakers, scientists, and now the governor, Roselle refused to pick up the jar, and said he was not going to take the dust back to Rock Creek, whereupon he was arrested.
The charges are disorderly conduct (he never raised his voice and behaved in a civil and soft-spoken manner) and trespass (there is no gate or guard at the entrance to the governor’s mansion and he did not refuse to leave). Bail was set at $20,000 ($10,000 for each exaggerated charge). In addition, counsel has been refused access to his client — an egregious violation of Roselle’s civil rights.
Now, everyone who lives in Appalachia knows that more than six million tons of ammonium nitrate diesel fuel explosives are detonated six days each week to extract an infinitely modest amount of coal as mountain tops are blasted away. When the dust settles, it contains everything from mercury, lead, arsenic, various heavy metals, polyaromatichydrocarbons, pulverized silica , partially combusted coal and shale, and even radiation. They can only hope that justice will be done and the coal companies will be forced to stop mountain top blasting and threatening the health of each and every resident in the communities affected by toxic coal dust raining down on them from the blasts.
It is time for mountaintop removal to end. The onus is upon the state government to mandate that the coal companies cease and desist blasting mountains, poisoning people, air, water, soil, wildlife and destroying the quality of life for every person in Appalachia.
Please contact WV governor and tell him that Mike Roselle should be released immediately, that he speaks for the people, that he must direct WVDEP to analyze the sample, and that the heavily sponsored ACHE Act (HR526, the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act) can end mountaintop removal and will save countless lives when passed.
Contact Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
Office of the Governor
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
(304) 558-2000 or 1-888-438-2731
Dear Governor Earl Ray Tomblin,
I am writing on behalf of Mike Roselle and Climate Ground Zero, who is being held in jail on trumped up charges of trespass and disorderly conduct for simply trying to deliver a sample of the toxic dust left behind from mountain top removal blasting by coal companies. Bail was assigned at $20,000, a ludicrous $10,000 for each erroneous charge. I ask that you immediately direct that he be released from jail. Everyone has seen the video footage of his arrest and he was quite orderly, polite, soft-spoken, civil and forthright in his request. There is no gate or guard post at the governor’s mansion and Mr. Roselle was not trespassing.
In addition, I request that you direct the DEP to test the dust samples delivered by Mr. Roselle for analysis. Furthermore, they should be directed send a sample to an independent testing facility to analyze the dust. Climate Ground Zero states that upwards of 20 published, peer-reviewed, scientific, professional papers have all concluded that the blasting carried out by the coal companies is a health hazard for lung and other diseases, cancer, birth defects, and shortened life expectancy.
Finally, I urge you to get behind the heavily sponsored ACHE Act (HR526, the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act) which can end mountaintop removal and will save countless lives when passed.
You are invited to cut and paste this letter into the “your comments” section at the bottom of the page, or write one of your own in your own words, and/or call. It is important to contact the governor to demand Climate Ground Zero director Mike Roselle’s immediate release. Thank you for helping the people of the Appalachians.
Other ways to help:
Call the West Virginia Regional State Jail, 1001 Centre Way, Charleston, WV 25309-1001