Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festival in West Virginia
The 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 here, 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.
(This story originally appeared at Facing South)