GRANT TOWN, W.Va. – Hundreds of people are expected to travel to Marion County for a protest at the Grant Town power plant on Saturday, April 9. A group called ‘West Virginia Rising’ organized the protest and said it has hundreds of people registered to come voice their opinions against Senator Joe Manchin and his take on climate legislation.   

Grant Town Power Plant (WBOY Image)

Protesters said they hope to raise awareness of the rise in electricity rates to keep the coal plants open and want to change the narrative on clean energy and show people that they are not too expensive. 

Holly Bradley, a West Virginian that plans to attend the protest, said they aren’t against coal or coal miners and would “like to see them taken care of when the inevitable transition to cleaner energy begins to happen.” She also said they don’t want to see the state of West Virginia left behind in the new green energy sector and don’t want to rely so heavily on coal.

“I hope specifically that Senator Manchin just rethinks his stance on blocking climate legislation. People care. I hope it shows that people from all over the country are willing to show up in this tiny little town in West Virginia to show the urgency of passing climate legislation,” Bradley said.  

At the protest the group plans to form a blockade across the driveway of the power plant. Bradley said they are not planning on blocking the main streets of Grant Town. The blockade is in a way symbolic of what they are standing up for.  

“Manchin has been blocking climate legislation and other super meaningful bills for the people of the whole country but West Virginia especially and so now we’re going to block him … I think that it’s important to shed light on the fact that the person creating climate legislation shouldn’t make money from coal,” Bradley said.

The Mayor of Grant Town, Charlie Rosic, said technically the power plant is outside of town lines so, the Grant Town police officers will be patrolling town streets while the West Virginia State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department will handle the security at the power plant.  

“As in any situation until it actually occurs whatever steps are necessary will be taken at that time,” Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said.  

The organization and Bradley both state this will be a peaceful and nonviolent protest. West Virginia Rising is organizing training regarding nonviolent civil disobedience and de-escalation for protesters who registered.  

“Maybe this could be a sustained effort that more people join in with. I guess it all depends on if there’s enough people at the blockade that they can’t arrest everybody and they can’t make us leave,” Bradley said.  

West Virginia Rising’s Facebook page states they will meet at the Grant Town power plant Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m.