CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two environmental activists were charged with trespassing, unlawful assembly and obstruction Monday after disrupting a symposium intended to present new research on energy production and the environment.
Police removed Joe Solomon and David Baghdadi from the Charleston Marriott after they locked themselves together by linking hands inside a reinforced plastic pipe and began chanting "Coal kills, science lies."
Both later appeared in Charleston Municipal Court, where a clerk said Solomon posted $1,686 bond and was released. Baghdadi was sent to South Central Regional Jail.
Court officials couldn't immediately provide their ages and hometowns, but both told police they have been living in Rock Creek. They face possible fines of $562 for each offense.
The symposium runs through Thursday. It's sponsored by the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science, or ARIES, and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.
ARIES Director Michael Karmis said his organization welcomed several community groups, and he's disappointed they chose disruption over meaningful dialogue.
"It is regrettable that their actions delayed this important meeting," he said.
The protesters were angry that no citizens were included on a panel with mining regulators from West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.
"This is just another example of the coal industry cynically trying to muddy the waters, distort the science and delay the inevitable," said activist Junior Walk, who contends strip mining harms human and environmental health.
The protest coincided with events at Environmental Protection Agency offices in Philadelphia and Atlanta, where activists demanded tough new stream-protection regulations.