Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist James Hansen and former W.Va. Congressman Ken Hechler were among 31 people arrested at a non-violent protest of mountaintop removal coal mining near Massey Energy’s Goals Coal processing plant on June 23, 2009.
Actress Daryl Hannah was arrested this afternoon in West Virginia along with NASA climatologist James Hansen, local activist Michael Brune of Rainforest Action Network, Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds, 94-year-old former U.S. Representative Ken Hechler and more than a dozen others.
They were protesting at an elementary school threatened by a 2.8-billion-gallon coal sludge impoundment where coal dust in the air exceeds acceptable limits. Protestors trespassed on land owned by coal giant Massey Energy.
The protest is part of a string of increasingly dramatic actions objecting to the Obama Administration’s announcement that the EPA will reform, but not abolish, mountaintop removal mining. Later this week, Congress will host a hearing titled, “The Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Mining on Water Quality in Appalachia.”
Many will now (and have) called for Hansen to be fired from his post at NASA. As noted on our post of March 18, 2009, Hansen will likely offer up the same lame excuse that he does his protesting while he’s on vacation. An excerpt from his video interview during a coal plant earlier this year:
Interviewer: Are you here as an employee of NASA?
James Hansen: No! Of course not. I’m here, I’m on vacation today.
Interviewer: You’re here as a private citizen then?
Hansen: Yes, of course.
Interviewer: Some people are going to say, “But you’re James Hansen, you’re always, you’re always identified with NASA”, and they’re saying you’re splitting hairs.
Hansen: I’m also a Columbia University adjunct professor, I mean I, uh, haven’t given up my rights as a US citizen, and freedom of speech is one of them.
The video of that protest earlier this year:
Note that the interviewer seems unconvinced by Hansen’s lame excuse.
I wonder how many paid vacation days Hansen has left for this year?
I also wonder if I’m the only person who is bothered by the fact that Hansen is going on these little adventures courtesy of our tax dollars?
Al Gore: "I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are...."
Grist Magazine (May 9, 2006)