Surface mining protesters still in jail, say bail amounts are un - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Surface mining protesters still in jail, say bail amounts are unfair

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Twenty people arrested after a weekend protest at the Hobet mine are still in the Western Regional Jail on trespassing and obstruction charges.

They're all affiliated with RAMPS, or Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival.

RAMPS Spokesman Mathew Louis-Rosenberg said the protesters are having a hard time getting out of jail because of their bail amounts.

"The only thing the court will accept as bail is $25,000 worth of West Virginia Property," he said.

Rosenberg said surety-only bonds aren't feasible or fair.

"The family of one of our arrestees that did have some more resources was able to send a money order for $25,000 that the court refused to take for his release," he said.

Catherine Macdougal and Justin Steele would both like to be free right about now. But, they contend that their beliefs about surface mining and the environment are worth sitting in a jail cell for.

"Where we pass laws outlawing strip mining or not, coal is on the decline," Macdougal said.

"People feel like their jobs are being threatened but for me, when I turn on my tap and my tap runs red and that wasn't the case before mountain top removal was around my home, then I know it's something worth fighting for," Steele said.

RAMPS is working with a team of lawyers to see what, if anything, can be done to get the protesters out of jail with cold hard cash.

The magistrate who set these bail amounts was not available for comment on Tuesday.