Environmental groups: no room for violence in energy protests

SOD, W.Va. — Six West Virginia environmental groups are denouncing this week’s shooting of an energy industry worker near an oil well in Lincoln County.

State police said HG Energy LLC worker Mark Miller was shot in the hand by a man dressed in camouflage Monday. The shooting happened in the Joe’s Creek area near Sod where Miller was checking on a leaking oil well.

The environmental groups put out a statement Wednesday saying they “absolutely repudiate any and all violence whether in deed or word. The future we seek is one of peace and justice.”

West Virginia Chapter Sierra Club spokesman Jim Sconyers told MetroNews his group and others thought it necessary to make it clear they in no way support what happened.

“It shouldn’t require saying but I guess it does,” he said. “We don’t do that. We don’t do violence. Never have, never will,” Sconyers said.

State police said Miller told them the man, who had black paint on his face, played a recording that said “Stop the drilling.” Sconyers said there are right ways to protest against gas drilling and fracking.

“It’s always done peacefully and non-violently,” Sconyers said. “Pulling a gun out and shooting a guy tending a well is not exactly our cup of tea by any stretch of the imagination. No way.”

Police tracked the man for about four miles but a dog lost the scent. Sconyers said you can get your point across without hurting anybody.

“That’s exactly how we go about it,” he said.

The environmental groups that signed the letter included:

West Virginia Chapter Sierra Club

Eight Rivers Council

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy


Christians for the Mountains

Greenbrier River Watershed Association