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Protester, 85, one of three waging anti-mining fast

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham Roland Micklem, 85, started fasting Monday at the West Virginia state capitol in what he and others call "Fast For The Mountains."
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham
Roland Micklem, 85, started fasting Monday at the West Virginia state capitol in what he and others call “Fast For The Mountains.”

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Roland Micklem and a group of supporters are fasting at the state Capitol this week to protest mountaintop removal mining and its negative effect on the environment.

Micklem, 85, isn’t sure he has the strength to see the protest through, but he is adamant in taking a stand and bringing attention to what he said are the evils of invasive mining methods.

Micklem, who lives in New York, is joined by Mike Roselle of Raleigh County, Vincent Eirene of Pittsburgh and a small group of supporters, though the three are the only ones participating in the fast.

While the three men will deny themselves food for as long as they are physically and mentally able to, they will drink vegetable and fruit juice, coffee and water to keep their bodies going.

Micklem, who had a stroke in March, will continue to take a vitamin and subscription medication for blood-clotting and depression each day, but he hasn’t ruled out giving up liquids as well if it helps get his message across to legislators and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Micklem said people have questioned his decision to travel across the country to protest mining, but he said West Virginia’s environmental issues “are important for us in New York.”

“What they’re doing here in West Virginia is just as much my business in New York or someone in Singapore, San Francisco or anywhere else in the world,” he said. “If I did something in New York that impacts the rest of the world, it becomes everybody’s business.”

Micklem said mountaintop removal and hydro-fracking don’t get the attention of mainstream news outlets, which has helped lull people into becoming indifferent about the environment.

 “We are systematically destroying it,” he said. “We are running out of clean water, air to breath and fertile soil to plant in. We must stop this.”

Micklem wasn’t clear on what his end goal is or whether he wants legislation banning mountaintop removal to be passed…

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