2014 will be the 10th Annual Mountain Justice Summer Camp and we are excited to announce that we will be back on beautiful Pine Mountain in Kentucky at the wonderful and wacky place called Wileys Last Resort.
Pine Mountain (elev. 2900 ft) is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse mountains in Appalachia, and it has numerous hiking trails, mountain views, wateralls, rare and endangered plant species, black bears and gorgeous forests. The mountain laurel will be in bloom during our camp and there is an abundance of wildflowers on the mountain.
Our Mountain Justice Summer camp will feature nine days of workshops, trainings, learning about coal mining and mountaintop removal and Appalachian history and culture. Our Summer Camp site overlooks a huge mountaintop removal mine on nearby Black Mountain.
Evenings will feature music, films, bonfires and dancing with mountain and traditional Appalachian music
Food is lovingly cooked by our dedicated crew – all meals and tent camping are included in your registration
Sliding scale, no one is turned away for lack of ability to pay
Please pre-register – about 150 people are expected to attend
Please do not bring your dog
You can bring cash or check and register at the gate, but we cannot accept credit cards at the gate
Join us in West Virginia for an action-packed
weekend of workshops, trainings and action in the heart of the
Appalachian mountains. You will learn about Appalachian culture and
history and the long tradition of resistance to strip mining and
mountaintop removal mining. You will see mountaintop removal from the
top of Kayford Mountain, the beloved homeplace of the famous “Mountain
Keeper,” the late Larry Gibson.
Larry died protecting his mountain from mountaintop removal – now
it’s up to us to keep defending his home. At the Mountain Justice Fall
Summit you will meet residents of the Appalachian Mountains and the
Coal River Valley who are fighting to protect them, and the people who
are standing alongside them.
We will teach you about non-violent civil disobedience and direct
action and how Mountain Justice and allied organizations are using
these tools to directly confront the coal companies who are blowing the
tops off America’s oldest mountains. Mountain Justice is committed to
peaceful, non-violent resistance to mountaintop removal.
Everyone is welcome to attend. Students from across America
will be there. You do not have to be an expert on coal or energy issues
to participate – everyone who agrees to abide by Mountain Justice’s non-violence policy
and Mission Statement is welcome to attend the Mountain Justice Fall
Summit. You will have the option whether to participate in a direct
action, or in a support role, or not. There will also be several
opportunities to do community service work on Kayford Mountain and in
the local West Virginia communities impacted by mountaintop removal.
After the Fall Summit, participants will have the option
of remaining in the area for the following week for more in-depth
training, listening projects and other activities.
Registration fee for Mountain Justice Fall Summit
includes all food and activities for the weekend – lodging is tent
camping, so bring your own tent, sleeping bag, water bottle, sleeping
pad, camera, camping chair, warm clothes, etc. You will need to provide
your own transportation and car-pooling is encouraged.
The Fall Summit begins with a dinner Friday night around 6:00 –
we will have a Youth Panel after dinner, followed by a screening of the
great documentary film about the mountaintop removal resistance movement
“On Coal River.” There will be workshops all day Saturday, with live
Appalachian and folk music around the campfire Saturday night. On
Sunday we will visit Kayford Mountain.
Three weeks after the Fall Summit, check out Hands Off Appalachia’s Fall Action Camp in Connecticut [UBS America's Headquarters] November 19-25.
The camp will build organizing capacity and leadership skills among anti-extraction activists in the northeast. After all the hard work and learning, we’ll put our new skills into practice with a culminating action!
Expect a week of collaboration and workshops such as:
Emily Gillespie, Junior Walk, Jocelyn Sawyer and Andy pleaded to blocking a roadway in exchange for the prosecutor dropping obstruction of justice. Each was sentenced to five days in jail plus a $100 fine and $116 in court costs. Additionally, the entire group was ordered to pay $3,328.77 in restitution to the city of Bristol.
Plea deal, dropped one charge and pleaded to obstruction of a public road or something like that. Obstruction of justice was dropped. Plea agreement was 5 days in jail (10 days, but way this jail is you only do half-sentence if on good behavior). Restitution to Bristol is $3,328.77, from the group as a whole. Each of them have $100 fine plus $116 court costs.
More information will be out soon so check back over the next day or so.
BRISTOL, VA. and KNOXVILLE, TENN. — Two protests in two states targeted different parts of coal strip mining today. Five Mountain Justice and RAMPS activists, including West Virginian Junior Walk and Kentuckian Emily
Gillespie, shut down the entrance to Alpha Natural Resources’
headquarters this morning with a 250-gallon water buffalo, full of dirty
water and converted to a lockbox, as well as a concrete-filled
55-gallon drum. Another three activists with Mountain Justice and Hands Off Appalachia,
including Knoxvillian Ricki Draper and Kentuckian Lou Lepping, locked
themselves to a giant paper maché puppet of a fat cat banker in front of UBS’ Knoxville office.
has been getting away with poisoning my community’s water and gambling
our lives for profit with their unsafe Brushy Fork sludge impoundment,
so we’re bringing the dirty water to them,” Walk said, “Alpha-Massey has
locked Appalachia to dirty water, backed by the state government of
removal coal mining requires intensive injections of capital
investment. That capital comes at the cost of the people of Appalachia.
I’ve engaged in this non-violent act of protest against UBS’ funding of
mountaintop removal to exhibit our dedication to ending their funding
and support of an industry that is devastating Appalachia and killing
it’s residents.” — Ricki Draper, Hands Off Appalachia! And Knoxville
Alpha blockade closed the only entrance to Alpha’s office, which police
cleared by almost 10 a.m. All of the Alpha Five were charged with
blocking a roadway and obstruction of justice.
UBS action took place in downtown Knoxville during the lunch hours, at
the entrance of the 1st Tennessee Building on Gay Street. Police and
first responders eventually cut the chains and utilized “Jaws of Life”
equipment to dismantle the protest. All three were charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest and were released by late Friday afternoon on $500.
protests will continue to escalate until Appalachian communities are no
longer made to sacrifice their health and identities to provide toxic
coal to America and its importers, and until banks stop funding these
exploitive practices,” said Gillespie.
Sawyer, one of the people who blockaded the Alpha HQ, was released this
Friday afternoon on $5,000 bail while Gillespie, Andy and Walk were
released on personal recognizance. Baghdadi remains in jail on $5,000
Click here to donate to the Mountain Justice Legal Defense Fund.
UBS Wealth Management targeted by nonviolent protest.
Knoxville, Tennessee May 24th, 2013
This morning, activists associated with Mountain Justice, Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS), and Hands Off Appalachia! entered the Gay Street branch of UBS wealth management services and refused to leave. Inside the office, three activists locked themselves to a large paper mache puppet depicting an investment banker. The non-violent protest was in opposition to UBS’ funding and supporting of the harmful extractive process known as mountaintop removal coal mining.
“Mountaintop removal coal mining requires intensive injections of capital investment. That capital comes at the cost of the people of Appalachia. I’ve engaged in this non-violent act of protest against UBS’ funding of mountaintop removal to exhibit our dedication to ending their funding and support of an industry that is devastating Appalachia and killing it’s residents.” — Ricki Draper, Hands Off Appalachia! And Knoxville Resident.
UBS provides funding and investment services to Patriot, Arch and James River Coal Companies. Those three companies, operate active strip mines in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing my home get blown up for corporate greed – and UBS is bankrolling the blasting of my community. UBS, listen up: My family’s not a profit margin, our mountains aren’t collateral damage, and we want you out of here: Get your hands off of Appalachia,” said West Virginia resident Junior Walk.
Junior Walk was part of protest today targeting Alpha Natural Resources. Walk and several others [confronted] Alpha at their headquarters in Bristol, VA. UBS acted as the financial advisor for Alpha Natural Resources’ acquisition of Massey Energy in 2010, which created the largest mountaintop removal company in the world.
Mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) is a form of strip mining that was developed in the 1970’s as a method for extracting coal cheaply. Companies use explosives to remove the top layers of soil and rock from a mountain ridge, exposing the seams of coal for easy access. The valley-fills that accompany mountaintop removal are poisoning water supplies, causing cancer and birth defects, devastating local economies, and displacing large segments of Central Appalachian residents.
Hands Off Appalachia! (HOA!) is a Knoxville-based campaign demanding UBS change their official policy and stop funding and supporting companies that engage in mountaintop removal coal mining.
Mountain Justice seeks an abolition of MTR and the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the Appalachian coal fields. This work is done through grassroots organizing, public education, nonviolent civil disobedience and other forms of citizen action.
Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) is a non-violent direct action campaign based in the southern coal fields of West Virginia. RAMPS is dedicated to ending all forms of strip mining in America
Alpha Headquarters Shut
Down By Demonstrators Locked to Tank of Dirty Water
Residents Protest Mountaintop
Removal Coal Mining, Health Impacts and Sludge Expansion
Bristol, Va.— Three residents of
Central Appalachia and supporters with Mountain Justice chained
themselves to an industrial tank of black water in front of Alpha
Natural Resources’ Bristol, Va., headquarters to protest Alpha’s
mountaintop removal strip mining and coal slurry operations across
“I’m risking arrest today because
mountaintop removal has to end now for the future viability of
Appalachia,” says Emily Gillespie of Roanoke, Va., whose work with
the Mountain Justice movement is inspired by Appalachian women’s
history of non-violent resistance. The tank of water represents coal
contamination from affected communities across the Appalachian
The group called for Alpha to stop
seeking an expansion of the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment in
Raleigh County, W.Va. “We want Kevin Crutchfield, CEO of Alpha
Natural Resources, to produce a signed document expressing that they
won’t seek the expansion of the Brushy Fork Impoundment before we
leave,” Junior Walk, 23, from the Brushy Fork area said.
“I live downstream from Alpha’s
Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment on Coal River. If that
impoundment breaks, my whole family would be killed,” Walk said,
“Even if it doesn’t, we’re still being poisoned by Alpha’s
mining wastes everyday. I’m here to bring the reality of that
destruction to the corporate authorities who are causing it, but who
don’t have to suffer its consequences.”
More than 20
peer-reviewed studies since 2010 demonstrate a connection between
mountaintop removal coal mining operations and increased cases of
kidney, lung, and heart diseases, as well as increased birth defects
and early mortality. The ACHE act, currently in sub committee in
Washington, calls for a moratorium on new mountaintop removal
operations until a definitive, non-partisan study can demonstrate the
reason for these community health emergency levels of health impacts.
The impoundment at Brushy Fork holds back almost 5 billion gallons of toxic sludge and is considered the largest earthen dam in the Western hemisphere. Recently leaked records show that coal slurry impoundments in Appalachia failed 59 out of 73 total structural tests performed by the Office of Surface Mining. “Alpha is only profitable because they’re allowed to gamble with our lives—and we’re the ones who pay the cost of their negligence and toxic pollution,” Walk said.
Alpha has lost numerous lawsuits
relating to pollution from mining wastes in recent years, but they
continue to violate safety regulations and expand their hazardous
After refusing to take responsibility
for the massive floods caused by the King Coal Highway and their
destructive mountaintop removal mining practices, Alpha continues to
push forward similar projects, such as the controversial Coalfields
Expressway in Virginia.
Click the poster image to load the full-size version. Download the quarter-sheets here.
Join Mountain Justice this May 19th – 27th for our 9th Mountain Justice Summer Action Training Camp, near Damascus, VA. Mountain Justice has grown from a fast burning brush fire that helped push Mountaintop Removal to national awareness into a critical support network at the base of a growing, national anti-extractive industry movement for social and environmental justice. This year, it’s time to fan the flames of resistance to dirty energy, and put an end to MTR once and for all, while continuing to support bottom up economic transition for a brighter Appalachia.
Will you join us as we build pressure and momentum to stop strip mining and other destructive extractive industries in Appalachia!
Mountain Justice Summer Camp is a place to learn skills, expand on the ones you already have, strengthen connections in networked social movements for Justice, meet new allies and take action to stop the destruction of Appalachia.
Workshops will range from mountaintop removal 101, and non-violent civil disobedience, to campaign and community organizing, science and SMCRA (Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act) and Appalachian Community Economics. In addition we’re including a more in depth training for trainers track to help build our collective skills as trainers. Expect direct action to be part of this camp, though participation is not required for camp attendance.
Mountain Justice welcomes parents, kids, families and people at all ages and stages of life. For several years MJ events have included a physical space and a crew of people we call the Kid Collective to offer loving and experience child care givers and educators, armed with books, crafts, toys games and quiet space. Please think about bringing your little ones. Contact erin (at) mountainjustice (dot) org if you plan to bring kids, so we can get all the necessary details.
The final schedule will be released later, but you can register now here. To be notified for updates on camp schedule and other MJ events, sign up for our news and announcement list. Registration fees are on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We do provide 3 meals a day, a place to sleep, and amazing trainers from across our region, so we ask for donations between $15 and $50 per day, or $150 – $500 for the duration of camp.
Organized by Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) and members of the Black Mesa/Big Mountain Communities.
This MORE-RAMPS – BMIS collaboration is yet another part of the
growing national uprising against economic and resource extraction. St.
Louis is corporate headquarters to five coal corporations including
Peabody, Arch and Patriot, as well as industrial agri-giant Monsanto.
Participants will learn new skills and use them to engage in the current
campaign against these corporations through direct action and community
The camp will feature a 2-week (Jan 7-20) and 3-week (Jan 7-27)
option. There will be two featured tracks: direct action and community
organizing, with significant overlap and emphasis put on how these
fundamental aspects of resistance fit together. Both tracks will
include multiple actions targeting extractive industries and provide a
solid set of skills that can be used in any campaign. Both tracks are a
full time commitment and will include intensive training and hands on
Participating in this camp is a full-time commitment for either 2 or 3
weeks. We expect individuals to come wanting to work hard and stay the
entire time. There will be a sliding-scale fee to cover housing and
food, but we will not turn anyone away for lack of funds. All must be
comfortable in a communal living environment of 40+ people. We will not
tolerate harassment of any kind. There is limited space so apply early!