Group Blocks Train to Protest Apple’s Coal Use

| News

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.

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Mmm.  It’s only Apple who are deserving of this attention?

All the residents in that region and all the small businesses and all the community organisations are all innocent?

While I get their motives, it does seem rather hypocritical of these protestors to single out a single entity.


By making Apple the focus they committed a stupid rookie mistake. They lost focus. Everyone heard them yelling at Apple when the focus was coal. They blew it big time.

That said what do you expect from Greenpeace (Media Whores) and Earth First! (One of the few that truly deserve the label Eco Terrorist). I have less than no respect for either of these gangs. (And I’m proud to call myself a left wing radical).

Lee Dronick

And I?m proud to call myself a left wing radical

I don’t consider myself a radical, but I am certainly a realistic Progressive. We can get off of our addiction to domestic coal, but it takes time.

By making Apple the focus they committed a stupid rookie mistake. They lost focus. Everyone heard them yelling at Apple when the focus was coal. They blew it big time.



Do they not understand that Apple is building renewable energy plants at the Datacenter site to power it?  These guys really just like to make big headlines without really thinking through everything.  I’m definitely in favor of reducing fossil-fuel dependencies but there are other ways to make this happen.

other side

Unless the plant exclusively powers Apple’s data center, it really was a stupid display by the protesters.


The core objective of these tactics (blocking trains, releasing balloons in Apple stores, throwing banners over Apple buildings) is to create publicly embarrassing events with Apple’s name tied to them. Apple offers two things that are essential to Greenpeace’s campaign:
1) Apple is the main technology company in the media spotlight, and has been so for a few years.
2) Apple has shown a willingness to change their practices, whether driven by Greenpeace or not.
Together these make Apple a far better target than, say, Dell or HP.


is to create publicly embarrassing events with Apple?s name tied to them.

That is their goal. To get in front of the camera and be seen having a fit. Unfortunately, the message about coal and its role in climate change was lost while everyone is reading about them protesting Apple. Check out this story about a similar protest here in BC. They are referred to as Anti-Coal Protesters. The story specifically talks about “Irreversible Climate Change”. I haven’t seen that in the stories about the NC event.

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