Activists Set to Defy Ban on WVa Mining Protests

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Associated Press

Activists Set to Defy Ban on WVa Mining Protests

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BECKLEY, W.Va. - Environmental activists hinted Monday that
they may defy a judge's order banning protests at mountaintop
removal mine sites run by Virginia-based Massey Energy.

After a hearing in Raleigh County Circuit Court, Judge John
Hutchinson extended a previous order about the protests until March
24. That's when he will consider Massey's request for an even
longer injunction.

Hutchinson said his order applies not only to people Massey
lawyers accused of trespassing, but also to any "associates" of
those activists.

Protester Rory McIlmoil, a community organizer with Coal River
Mountain Watch, objected to the order as being too broad and
potentially covering thousands of people.

"Then it enjoins thousands of people," the judge shot back.
"Everyone is enjoined from interfering with the processes at these
facilities."

Activists are angry not only about environmental damage caused
by the particularly destructive form of strip mining, but also
about the greenhouse gases that are generated by the burning of
coal.

Since February, a dozen people have been cited for protests that
included blocking roads or chaining themselves to heavy equipment.

Activist Mike Roselle of Climate Ground Zero, who has moved to
West Virginia to lead the protests, was involved in three actions
along with activist James McGuinness.

"If we let this stop us, then we lose our campaign," Roselle
said. "And we can't lose our campaign."

Independent journalist Antrim Caskey was cited for trespassing
at least twice for photographing the protests and is among those
Massey names in its filings.

Hutchinson's first order banning protests was issued Feb. 27,
but activists were back at it within a week. On March 5, five
protesters who had not been involved in the previous actions
blocked a road.

Massey then got a temporary restraining order from Judge Robert
A. Burnside.

Hutchinson combined the orders and extended his own to March 24.

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