Group Blocks Train to Protest Apple’s Coal Use

Environmental activists in North Carolina blocked a train near Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station last week to protest the company’s use of coal and what they see as Apple’s reliance on coal power. North Carolina is home to one of Apple’s data centers, and the Mac and iPad maker is already working on plans to add what will be the largest fuel cell power plant in the country to the facility.

Activists tag train cars to protest Apple's coal useActivists tag train cars to protest Apple’s coal use

Image courtesy WCNC News

Several protestors chained themselves to the train tracks, according to WCNC News, while others hung a protest sign stating “Save Our Mountain Clean The Cloud.” Activists from Greenpeace, Keepers of the Mountains Foundation, Katuah Earth First! and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival were all involved in the event.

Protestors also tagged train cars with the Apple logo over concerns that the company’s local data center would require more coal power as it expands. Greeenpeace spokesman Gabe Wisnieweski backed up the protestor’s concerns over Apple’s hypothetical future coal power demands.

“Duke is using datacenter expansion in North Carolina, like Apple’s, to justify reinvesting in old coal-fired power plants and even worse, as an excuse to build new coal and nuclear plants,” he said. “But if Apple demands renewable energy from Duke Energy to power its iCloud it could help transform both the IT sector’s and North Carolina’s energy economy.”

The environmental group also said it wanted Apple to become “more transparent” about what it called the company’s coal problem.

The protestors were arrested for blocking the train tracks.

Apple has not commented on the incident, although Duke power plant officials said that while they’re fine with protestors speaking their mind, they have no tolerance for actions that create safety threats.