Yesterday, 44 citizens of West Virginia walked up onto a former site of mountaintop removal coal mining that was supposed to have been “reclaimed”. All that the supposed reclamation included was a regrading of the remnants of the mountain, and the planting of grass. Before the mountaintop removal, the mountain had been covered with an ecologically complex forest.
The 44 West Virginians went onto the top of that barren, grassy mountain shard to plant trees in protest of the wreckage caused by mountaintop removal coal mining and inadequate reclamation in the aftermath. “The coal companies sure as hell aren’t going to do anything about it – someone’s got to,” said one participant in the protest. Technically speaking, the tree planting was a form of illegal trespass, but none of the protesters were arrested.