Category Archives: West Virginia

West Virginians Lead Blockade of Coal Plant That Made Manchin Rich

‘This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time.’

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

April 9, 2022 – Organizers of the “Coal Baron Blockade” protest which targeted right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s coal empire Saturday afternoon reported that state police almost immediately began arresting campaigners who assembled in Grant Town, West Virginia.

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s policies hurt poor people and hurt our environment so deeply that activists are ready to put themselves on the line,” tweeted the Poor People’s Campaign, which joined grassroots group West Virginia Rising and other organizations in the blockade.

Hundreds of campaigners participated in the blockade of Grant Town Power Plant, which receives coal waste from Enersystems, the company owned by the West Virginia senator’s son. Manchin earns $500,000 per year from Enersystems—”making a very lucrative living off the backs of West Virginians,” said Maria Gunnoe, an organizer of the action, this week.

At least 10 demonstrators had been arrested as of this writing.

“This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time,” said Jeff Goodell, author of The Water Will Come, of the dozens of campaigners who risked arrest.

Speakers and other participants highlighted the need for a just transition away from fossil fuels including coal, carrying signs that read “Solidarity with all coal workers.”

“My dad worked in a chemical plant until he retired with a disability from acute exposure,” said Holly Bradley, a ninth-generation West Virginian. “We can all find common ground, but Joe Manchin is making it impossible.”

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