When you talk to city leaders and business executives, they often cite 's easy access to restaurants and interstate highways as a sellling point for someone to set up shop around town. But on Monday, it was protesters who made their way to Creve Coeur.
Self-described social and environmental justice activists joined union backers who separately had planned to march in a march to support on the eastern seaboard.
Under a banner of "Midwest Rising", the activists joined the Verizon protest after standing out in front of corporate headquarters in CityPlace. In pictures released by the activists, more than 20 people held signs saying "Hands Off Blair Mountain" and "Save Blair Mountain". Blair Mountain, located in West Virginia, has been a source of controversy, and as the Charleston (W.Va) Gazette reported, was also the subject of a CNN documentary which aired Sunday night.
Arch Coal had planned a project to mine the mountaintop at the site until an EPA decision to deny a permit.
Willie Dodson, one of the activists who participated in Monday's protest, said the project would erase Apalachian history. He claims Arch Coal was effectively ripping his region "to shreds" and bringing the profit back to the St. Louis area.
The company issued the following statement Monday:
"We respect the rights of these individuals to express their point of view, but hope they will channel their convictions into a more productive effort and seek solutions that balance economic and environmental needs. We encourage concerned citizens to join the public-private efforts focused on sustaining a clean energy future. These clean energy efforts include identifying and developing advanced coal technologies aimed at keeping America secure and competitive on a global scale."
But Dodson said activists weren't done. "If I was Arch Coal, I would be ready for more hell raising in Appalachia and St. Louis."
Monsanto and Peabody Also Targeted
The activists also marched against and Peabody Monday. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, the Peabody protest resulted in more than a dozen arrests in downtown St. Louis. While Creve Coeur Police have not immediately returned calls seeking comment, Dodson said he didn't think there were any arrests at any of the actions here.
Monsanto released the following statement Monday:
"We respect each individual’s right to express his or her point of view. We understand that topics such as agriculture and its uses – food, feed, clothing and bioenergy – are important to all of us. Our world faces a number challenges including items directly related to agriculture, such as how do we feed a growing population. We understand that no single company or form of agriculture can address these challenges individually. We embrace all forms of agriculture and the choices of farmers to grow what makes sense to them and the needs of their customers."