CREVE COEUR, MO (KMOX) – About 50 protesters stood outside One City Place, the headquarters of Arch Coal, the company mining Blair Mountain in West Virginia. Students from Washington University’s Green Action called on Arch CEO Stephen Leer to stop the mountaintop mining at Blair Mountain. Leer sits on the Board of Trustees at Washington University, where students held a demonstration earlier in the day, asking their University to cut ties.
The protest lasted about 30 minutes; police reportedly told students if it lasted longer than that, they would be arrested for trespassing. Protesters held signs, chanted “Leave Blair alone,” and other chants for the entire time. Police guarded the entrances. Stephen Lear didn’t make an appearance, though several employees came to the windows of the building to watch.
Brandon Nida, a West Virginia native, drove in for the protest with a message for Leer.
“Leave us alone,” he said.
He said Leer and Arch Coal devastated the area in their first mining project. He says the drinking water is not safe to drink anymore, and the population has decreased drastically. Nida has been protesting this for years.
Protesters say there will continue to be protests in St. Louis, and activists groups in Appalachia will attempt to get help from lawmakers.
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