Breaking news…. Along with actress Daryl Hannah, 94-year old former US Congressman Ken Hechler, coal mining activist Judy Bonds, and dozens of others protesting mountaintop removal for coal mining, Dr. James Hansen was arrested this afternoon for trespassing onto the private property of Massey Energy Company in Coal River Valley, West Virginia.  Hansen is slated to debate Massey CEO Don Blankenship tomorrow on climate change and coal burning (see yesterday’s post).  Now it is unclear whether the debate will proceed; Blankenship has not confirmed despite his instigating challenge to Hansen late last week, nor has Massey issued a statement about the arrest.  Media links below. 

post by Anne Polansky

UPDATE 7:30 pm.  We are told by the Rainforest Action Network that all of the protesters have been released and are fine.  They were charged with two misdemeanors—obstruction, and impeding traffic.  We are also told that the prospects of a debate between Hansen and Blankenship tomorrow are dim.  Blankenship is insisting on a THURSDAY evening June 25, 7 pm time slot on a local television station that, allegedly, Blankenship owns shares in and has an affiliation with.  Most likely Hansen, Hannah, and the others who traveled to WV will need to depart tomorrow afternoon.  It’s unclear whether or not Hansen will address the public directly as he said he would earlier. 

Update:  West Virginia Media has invited Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen to share their thoughts on global warming, climate change, the potential environmental impact of coal-fired power plants and coal mining during a live, televised debate. If the participants agree, the debate will air at 7 p.m. Thursday across the state on West Virginia Media stations.
  (Let’s hope Mr. Blankenship has the courage to make good on his challenge!)

Jim Hansen shortly before being arrested today, reading a statement for Massey Energy Co.

Jim Hansen with another protester, Susan Rosenberg
Photo credit & more photos at Rainforest Action Network


See yesterday’s CSW post:  Dr. James Hansen agrees to debate a major coal mining company CEO in West Virginia


Media coverage:

New York Times Dot.Earth (Revkin):  Hansen of NASA Arrested in Coal Country

Daily Kos (on the recommended list, 6 pm, 6-23-09:  James Hansen and Daryl Hannah Arrested in MTR Protest

AP:  Darryl Hannah, scientist arrested at W.Va. protest

San Francisco Chronicle: Daryl Hannah arrested in green protest

West Virginia Media:  BREAKING NEWS: Ken Hechler; Daryl Hannah Arrested at Mine Protest

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Long time coal mining activist Judy Bonds was one of those arrested.  She comes to Washington DC often to speak out against the devastating practice of mountaintop removal. 

A website with her biography has this quote:

“In Southern West Virginia we live in a war zone.

Three and one-half million pounds of explosives are being used every day to blow up the mountains.

Blasting our communities, blasting our homes, poisoning us, trying to intimidate us.

I don’t mind being poor.

I mind being blasted and poisoned.

NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen arrested today for civil disobedience against WV coal mining