Facing South

Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festival in West Virginia

pro-massey_protester_july4_2009.pngThe Mountain Keepers Music Festival took place this place this July 4th weekend at a park on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, an event organized by the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in solidarity against mountaintop removal mining.

But Saturday's fun was disrupted when some 20 supporters of Massey Energy, a coal company with mountaintop removal mining operations in the area, crashed the festival and threatened attendees verbally and with obscene  gestures. People who were there report that some of the pro-mining protesters were wearing Massey Energy-issued blue and orange shirts.

"You get off our goddamn mountain!" yelled one heavyset man who was not wearing a shirt. "This is ours! We was here first!" He threatened to slit one attendee's throat.

A woman pro-Massey protester, who at one point threatened to show her [behind] to the camera, shouted, "You may have another way of living, but we don't."

The incident illustrates the growing tensions in the Appalachian coalfields over the practice of mountaintop removal mining, which involves blasting off a mountain peak to get to the coal seam and dumping the waste into the valley below. Festival goers did not engage the intruders, who eventually left on their own.

The incident was captured on camera by Patchwork Films Director B.J. Gudmundsson. You can watch the film below, but please take seriously the warning that it contains offensive language and content not suitable for children. A big hat tip to West Virginia environmental activist Danny Chiotos for bringing our attention to this.

(The image is a still from the video)


People Referenced:


re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

Hi Sue, can you change the title of this piece as it sounds like us good guys treehuggers disrupted something patriotic on July 4.

Ive never seen the term "mountaintop removal defenders" used before and its not real clear who you are referring to, maybe if you used title "Miners disrupt ..." or similar - thanks

re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

I recognize some of these folks from their previous appearances in the media...

The large shirtless gentleman was the keynote speaker at the The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change for global warming deniers, sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

The foul mouthed girl with the talent for sign language is a regular Fox News contributor on climate and energy issues.

She is also the sister and girlfriend of the large gentleman.

re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

Massey management looks to be working overtime. Blankenship must be vacationing with some judge somewhere.

re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

how do you know that these boys was from massey anybody can get them shirts they didnt have to work for massey

re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

Tree huggers are so funny. What do you wipe your butts on?TREES what do you write on? TREES. whats your house made of?TREES. what powers your home? COAL ...some people are so ignorant.

re: Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festiva

This is the same Massey Energy Company who, this week (April, 2010), lost 25 miners because of them not adhering to safety procedures in their coal mines in Montcoal, W. Va. What a shame! And these people, who disrupted the peaceful group trying to SAVE their lives by trying to stop these unsafe procedures and mining coal (which is not good for people's health - black lungs, etc), and now 25, possibly 29, are dead. What a shame that they do not see the irony of supporting this employer who obviously does not care about their people and their people's safety. What a shame!