For Immediate Release

April 2, 2010

Contact: Chad Kister (740) 753-3888 or (740) 707-4110 or

Coal Miners Cheer Assault of Author by Coal Mine Owner Robert Murray

On Tuesday, hundreds of coal miners cheered as Author Chad Kister reminded them of how Robert Murray, owner of two coal mines in Belmont County, Ohio assaulted him in 2000, during a speech at a public hearing for the coal slurry impoundment for the mines.

One of the moderators of the event, Jed Thorpe with the Ohio EPA, gave Kister an extra minute to compensate for the outburst. Afterward, Ohio Valley Coal Industry representatives applauded the miners.

"For a coal company to applaud miners who cheer the assault of a nonviolent author shows the corrupt, violent nature of the coal industry that is blackmailing the state to push through an illegal impoundment that threatens one of the cleanest streams left in Ohio," Kister said.

Murray was charged with assault by the state of Ohio and the City of Columbus for choking Kister and slamming his head against the wall.

At the hearing, one of the miners told the EPA that the EPA worked for the coal company.

Kister reminded the audience that Murray had promised that one of the mines would close if he were forced to do room and pillar mining under Dysart Woods rather than longwall mining. Dysart Woods is the last of the .004 percent of old growth forest in Ohio, and a National Natural Landmark that Murray mined under. When lawsuits by the Dysart Defenders and other environmental groups forced the change to room and pillar mining under the virgin forest, neither of the mines closed.

"Robert Murray is a liar," Kister said. "He should not be trusted to build another major impoundment in the headwaters of the cleanest stream left in Ohio: Captina Creek, the only place where the Eastern Hellbender thrives in Ohio. The Eastern Hellbender is a salamander that can grow to more than two feet in length. It is awaiting federal designation under the Endangered Species Act and is a state endangered species. The salamander has decreased in population by 80 percent since the 1980s according to the US EPA."

The U.S. EPA found that the impacts of the permit include the filling of nearly 29,928 linear feet of 72 headwater streams, with "substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts on Captina Creek, an Aquatic Resource of National Importance."

"The state of Ohio is being blackmailed by this coal company," Kister said at the hearing.