EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCOAL CONFRONTATION
from Eyewitness News Online
Activists And Coal Miners Meet In Protest
Reported by: Kristin Keeling
Videographer: Aakash Vaghela
Web Producer: Kristin Keeling
Reported: Jul. 28, 2012 9:11 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 29, 2012 9:51 AM EDT
Danville , Boone County , West Virginia
Hundreds of people from across America are converging in West Virginia to protest mountaintop removal coal mining. Those protesters faced off with mine supporters at Kanawha State Forest, Saturday morning.
Both sides were toe to toe and both with very different opinions on mountaintop removal mining and it's future in West Virginia.
"We're going to put our freedom on the line to take a stand for what we believe in today," said RAMPS activist, Junior Walk.
Hundreds of protesters from the activist group called, RAMPS (Radical Action For Mountain Peoples' Survival) are in West Virginia from all across the country. They're here for one goal: to shut down a strip mine site.
"We're sick and tired of seeing these coal operators pull up stakes and leave, and no one is left with anything," said Walk.
And the protesters were successful. About 40 activists went to the Hobet Mine in Boone County. We're told they hid in trees and literally chained themselves to machinery. Several coal miners tell Eyewitness News some of the machinery had explosives.
Several of the protesters were arrested. Coal miners watched along side of the property hopeful the activists would just give up.
"This is two or three summers straight now and we just want them to stop coming to our home," said wife of coal miner, Bonnie Barker.
That is why the miners are starting to fight back. Hundreds of miners showed up at Kanawha State Forest to stage a counter protest. They faced off with the activists, each side lining the side of the road to argue about what they believe in.
"I mean coal is what we know. It's what we do. I just don't think it's right for them to come in here and protest it because they have nothing to do with it," said coal miner, Jack Clark.
But the protesters say they're not giving up. They plan to stay in West Virginia and protest mountaintop removal mining and many suspect they are going to continue to try to shut down strip mines.
"We're definitely going to keep on pressing for it. This isn't the last you'll see of us. By far," said Walk.
But the coal miners aren't giving up either.
"This is what I know to do. But it's hard to be good at something when you have other people trying to shut it down," said Clark.
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