Protestors Arrested at Coal Waste Plant Affiliated With Manchin's Family

More than a dozen protestors were arrested outside a power plant affiliated with the family of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin on Saturday.

Known as the "Coal Baron Blockade," the protest took place at Grant Town Coal Waste Power Plant, which receives inefficient coal waste byproducts, known as "gob," from Enersystems, a company run by Manchin's son, Joe Manchin IV, according to the Independent. Manchin disclosed around $490,000 in income from the company in a 2020 SEC filing.

Protestors gathered in opposition to Manchin's policy decisions regarding climate change and clean energy. The centrist Democrat notably opposed significant portions of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better spending plan, which included numerous measures to combat climate change. Manchin claims his opposition is based on deficit and inflation concerns, while critics argue that his longtime connection to the coal industry is to blame.

joe manchin power plant protest
More than a dozen protestors were arrested on Saturday outside a West Virginia power plant affiliated with Senator Joe Manchin's family. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

At least 16 protestors were arrested at the demonstration, according to Times West Virginian. Local station WDTV noted that a large law enforcement contingent was present at the power plant during the protest.

"Manchin is a part of the system that has never served any West Virginians," Blake Thomas, a member of the West Virginia Rising coalition behind the protest, told the Independent. "It can't go on. This is us fighting back."

Protest organizers accused Manchin of working to keep the Grant Town Power Plant open while he served as Governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010. They also alleged that he raised power rates in the state, which ranks among the poorest in the U.S.

"Joe Manchin has spent his career making a very lucrative living off the backs of West Virginians while talking about how resilient we are," Maria Gunnoe, another protests participant and descendant of coal miners in the state, told the Independent. "West Virginians are tired of struggling only to see others prosper. We deserve opportunities to build a future that our kids can be proud of."

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for comment.

While the Independent noted that the protest planned to bring in "hundreds" of individuals, WDTV reported that "dozens" eventually gathered at the power plant on Saturday.

Coal burning is considered to be among the dirtiest sources of energy currently employed, with the phasing down of coal power being proposed as a major necessity for fighting the effects of climate change. The coal waste provided by Enersystems is even more inefficient than standard coal.