Activists arrested for blocking entrance to power plant while demonstrating against Sen. Joe Manchin

Climate activists were arrested on Sunday after they blocked the entrance to a West Virginia power plant as part of their demonstration against Sen. Joe Manchin’s ties to the coal industry.

According to a report by Fox News the protesters hoped to draw attention to their cause by impending ingress and egress from the power plant, which is tied to the senator and the coal industry, but were themselves impeded by police.

“Manchin has a lot of power nationwide,” said one protester, who told Fox News the demonstrators came to “call him out on his-self dealing. He’s not doing what the people of West Virginia want and need him to do.”

Student activist, Ryley Haught from West Virginia University  told Fox News: “Manchin profits 500,000 a year from the trucks that bring in that coal, and at the same time he serves as the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This is a huge conflict of interest.”

Protests to Manchin’s connections to the power industry also stem from frustrations about a company co-founded by Manchin and his brother, which paid the West Virginia Democrat nearly $492,000 in 2020.

The company Enersystems Inc., is run by Manchin’s son and, according to The New York Times, sells waste coal to the Grant Town Power Plant. The protesters have called on Manchin to leave behind his monetary gain from fossil fuels and embrace green energy legislation.

“He’s decided that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agenda is better than the agenda for the people of West Virginia and the people of the United States,” Rev. William Barber told a crowd of protesters.

However, Marion County sheriffs warned the protesters that if they got too close to the Grant Town power plant fencing they could be arrested, and within the first 10 minutes that boundary was crossed and the West Virginia State Police began arresting activists who sat right in front of the fence, taking at least a dozen into custody.

“We gave them boundaries they could remain in,” Marion County Sheriff J.C. Riffle said. “They chose not to remain in those boundaries.”