EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSAuthorities Say Environmentalist Who Locked Himself To Barrel Will Be Charged
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Aug. 21, 2013 1:21 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 22, 2013 11:59 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Authorities said an environmental activist who locked himself to a barrel of dirty water in front of the governor's mansion to protest Appalachian coal slurry impoundments will be charged as soon as they can remove his arm from a pipe.
Charleston firefighters spent several hours Wednesday trying to cut David Baghdadi of Rock Creek free on the mansion steps. He was taken to a hospital to try to remove his arm from the pipe.
Authorities said he would be charged with trespassing and obstruction.
Baghdadi is a member of Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival.
Earlier Wednesday, two activists with the group paddled onto a slurry impoundment and displayed banners at Independence Coal's Shumate Creek in Raleigh County. There were no immediate arrests.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
One environmental activist locked himself to a barrel of black water in front of the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion Wednesday while two others paddled out with protest banners to a slurry impoundment in Raleigh County.
The activists said they are calling attention to the failure of the state government to protect its citizens from the abuses of the coal industry and the threats posed by coal slurry disposal, according to a news release from Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival.
The release said two activists paddled out Wednesday morning onto the 2.8 billion gallon Shumate slurry impoundment in Raleigh County with banners reading, "Slurry Poisons Appalachia" and "Gov. Tomblin, Put Health Over Profit." Later Wednesday, one activist locked himself to a barrel of black water in front of Tomblin's mansion in a Tyvek suit reading "Applachia's Locked to Dirty."
The protesters said coal slurry, the toxic byproduct of "washing" impurities out of coal before it is sold, has long been a matter of deep concern for area residents. They said its common disposal methods have created tragic disasters such as poisoning the public water supplies of Prenter and Eunice, W.Va., and slurry floods in Martin County, Ky., and Buffalo Creek, W.Va.
Despite this, the protesters said, evidence mounts that West Virginia regulators continue to fail at adequately regulating impoundments.
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