FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew Munn or Dea Goblirsch 304-513-4710
BELLE, W.Va. – Two young people unfurled a banner which read, “Yes, Coal is Killing West Virginia’s Communities” off of the Walker CAT building in Belle, W.Va. at 12:55 p.m. this afternoon. The youth, who say they were acting in solidarity with the Senior Citizens March to End Mountaintop Removal, are affiliated with Climate Ground Zero. The March passed the Walker CAT building on today’s route.
Gabe Schwartzman, 19, and David German, 18, were arrested by City of Belle Police and cited for trespassing on a structure or conveyance. They were taken to the Magistrate’s Court in Charleston, where they were released at 3:00 p.m on $100 personal recognizance. Steve Walker, CEO of Walker Machinery Company, accompanied the arresting officers to the court.
At 3:20 p.m., the Senior Citizens March to End Mountaintop Removal was halted by the City of Belle Police Department. Officers took the IDs of three marchers who Walker CAT security claim walked onto the business’ property.
Walker CAT’s Earthmoving Division is one of the main suppliers of equipment to mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia. They are also at the forefront of pro-coal advertising campaigns. In addition to television, print, and billboard adds, Walker CAT produced “Mountaintop Mining Viewpoint,” a brochure aimed at influencing public opinion in support of the practice. The twenty-eight page document makes claims that mountaintop removal coal mining is necessary, cheap and environmentally responsible.
While speaking to marchers and supporters at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charleston last night, Larry Gibson of Kayford Mountain stated, “They keep saying coal is cheap. Ask someone who lost someone in the mining industry how cheap it is. We know better than that in the coal fields.”