Rock Creek Top Ten

Top Ten Rock Creek Stories of the year.

Will Wickham and Glen Collins use U-Locks around their necks to lock
down to big yellow machinery on Kayford Mountain, May 23, 2009.
photograph by antrim caskey

10.  Climate Ground Zero
staff increases from four people to over forty full time volunteers, then Ivan
shows up and our food budget doubles.

9.  We kicked Marcel’s
horse out of dilapidated Number Four House and did a complete makeover. Then
Guin moved in and now we miss the horse.

8. We get a goat to eat all of the poison ivy. Goat eats everything
but the poison ivy.

7. We get a new sign for the Ford Addition Road on Route
Three. Charleston newspaper publishes detailed directions to our houses.  House and
new sign get paintballed.

6. Seeds of Peace kitchen is replaced by Everybody’s Kitchen’s
famous kitchen bus. Food stays just as good but there is no coffee in the morning. We
miss Grumbles.

5. Of the forty people living here on Rock Creek, Dr. Bob is
the only one who hasn’t been arrested yet. He is our cook, carpenter,
accountant and dentist. We don’t have a dental plan, but we do have a dentist.

4. Sergeant Smith and Lt. Bowers crash big party on the Ford
Addition and order us, then beg us to tell Nick and Laura, two tree sitters in
their second day of shutting down blasting on the Edwhite mountain top removal
mine, to come down.  Support crew
delivered the sitters warm squash soup in their trees, but forgot to mention it.
They came down voluntarily on the seventh day, suffering from sleep deprivation
due to constant harassment by Massey employees.

3. Ford Addition’s Rock Creek grill chosen to cook the half
of pig donated by a neighbor to Larry Gibson’s annual Fourth of July
Celebration of the Mountains. The other half was donated to the Massey coal
miners who live just down the road. Their BBQ must not have been as good as
ours because a different miner came over to Larry’s for a hot dog, and is now a
You Tube celebrity.

2. Two young women bump into some strip miners as they make
their way up and out onto the three hundred foot boom where they shut the
dragline down for half a day. Lt. Bowers had to go up and arrest them. Then they get
charged with battery.  Isn’t this a crazy town?
1. Climate Ground Zero, against all odds, survived the last
year of the first decade of the twenty First Century. Not only that, the
campaign to end mountain top removal has grown into a full blown movement.
Climate Ground Zero has been cited as one of the top news makers of the year by
several media outlets. In West Virginia, Rock Creek has become the symbol of
resistance, and Coal River Mountain is where we draw the line.  We are looking
forward to keeping up the
struggle over the next year and want to thank everybody for their support over
the last one. We hope to see you here on Rock Creek.

Winter in Rock Creek

We got about 5 inches of snow yesterday and its stayed cold, so the trees are still laden with snow. All the wood stoves are cranking, watching football, delicious chicken soup , spicy chili and homemade bread for dinner. yum.
Dress warm for January Camp!

JAN 25 - Images by antrim caskey

Tree sit security guards come forward about mistreatment of sitters and workers

ROCK CREEK, RALEIGH, W.Va.—Two people who worked as security guards, two weeks ago at the strip mining tree sit on Coal River, have come forward about TMK Security’s mistreatment of them and the sitters during the week-long occupation. Chris Carey, 26, and Patrick Curry, 18, came forward because TMK was subjecting the sitters to verbal and psychological harassment, verbal assault and sleep deprivation, and working the guards too long and deceived them about the situation. Carey was fired after coming and and Curry walked off the job.

Carey and Curry gave a one-hour interview on film, the full length of which is available at A 10-minute highlight reel is available at Both are no longer employed by Delbarton, W.Va.-based TMK.

“They wasn’t doing anything. They wasn’t cussing anybody, they wasn’t assaulting anybody, they wasn’t doing anything to anyone,” Curry said. “They had no right, the miners came down there and after they was throwing those rocks, that there told me that they were ready to do anything and that’s when we moved our posts a little close to the tree.”

“I served my country so people like Laura and Nick could do what they are doing and I totally respect them for that,” Carey said. “These people are truly concerned about the citizens here and the environment and you want to put them in jail, and the EPA should’ve been doing this job and the DEP should’ve been taking care of this. But when people don’t do their jobs, it’s up to the citizens to stand up and do something about it, and they get arrested… It’s not right, it’s not what these men over in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting for. I’d be disgusted if I came home and this is what I saw.”

Laura Steepleton and Nick Stocks climbed 80 feet up a pair of tulip poplars, within 300 feet of blasting and 30 feet of the Massey Energy Edwight Surface Mine. They unfurled two banners from their treetop platforms: “Stop Mountain Top Removal” and “DEP – Don’t Expect Protection.” Blasting is prohibited when people are within such proximity, as Mining Safety and Health Administration regulations require that people not be hurt in the course of blasting and that non-blasting employees all be cleared from the area.

“The security guards that came forward are my inspiration for humanity. Those two and a few other people from TMK Security were actually concerned for our safety and acted as conscientious human beings. They were given orders by head security to intimidate us and keep us from sleeping, and the tactics that were utilized did not have our safety in mind whatsoever,” Steepleton said. “I only felt secure when those two guards and a few others were on duty. I want to thank them for standing up for what they believed in. They were my heroes!”

Steepleton and Stocks came down after being threatened with chainsaws and enduring five days of psychological torture, sleep deprivation tactics and verbal assault. They were both charged with trespass after being asked to leave, obstruction and littering. Their bail was initially set at $25,000 each, but was reduced the next day to $1,000 each and both are now out of jail.

The interview was filmed and conducted by Jordan Freeman, who recently finished his work on the new film, Coal Country.