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Bill would crack down on coal mine protests

By The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia Senate committee has amended and unanimously approved a bill that would toughen the penalties on coal mine protesters.

The bill advanced Tuesday would make it a felony to damage or remove any equipment from a coal facility that could be construed as promoting health or safety. It would be punishable by up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The amended version of the bill is much less harsh than the original version. The original would have instituted a fine of $500 to $1,000 for trespassing on a coal mine. Trespassing on regular private property is punishable by a fine of $100.

It would have made graffiti on a coal mine a felony and mandated a minimum of one year in jail.


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