Green Action protests Arch Coal practices
In an effort to resist Arch Coal’s plan to mine the historic Blair Mountain with mountaintop coal removal, Washington University’s Green Action, Climate Action St. Louis, and organizations from the Blair Mountain area demanded that Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton back the protestors in their efforts to cease the company’s activities.
“In recent weeks it’s become evident that Arch Coal is moving towards mountaintop removal coal mining which is super destructive, so we’re moving in solidarity with West Virginia with regards to our board of trustees,” sophomore and member of Green Action, Caroline Burney, said. “We thought we had an obligation to stand up to Arch.”
The march began on the Washington University campus, where protesters asked Wrighton to urge Leer and Arch Coal to halt mountaintop mining.
“It was great to see so many people join us on campus. We were able to deliver a pretty strong message to the Chancellor’s office,” senior and Green Action member Arielle Klagsbrun said. “Green Action will continue to push Chancellor Wrighton to stand with folks in Appalachia and to stand up to multinational coal companies like Arch Coal.”
Arch Coal could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
After demonstrating on campus, protesters headed to the Arch Coal headquarters in Creve Coeur.
They were prevented from entering the Arch Coal building by security. However, they still voiced their message through signs and chants from outside the building.
“Arch knows our message now, and they know why we’re opposing the Blair mountaintop removal,” Burney said.
Brandon Nida, a West Virginian and member of Friends of Blair Mountain, spoke directly to Leer.
“Steven Leer, back off Blair Mountain. We will not stop fighting the destruction of our communities until Arch stops blowing up our mountains,” Nida said, according to a press release.
Students cited human and environmental costs as reasons for getting involved.
“It’s really hard not to take action. We, as Washington University students, have the degree of duty to take some degree of action because of Arch Coal’s dominance on campus, because of their position on the board of trustees,” Klagsbrun said. “It’s really important that we use our power as students to support the folks in Appalachia.”