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Activists block train tracks to protest Apple's coal use

updated 09:31 pm EDT, Sat May 5, 2012

Protesters point finger at coal-powered cloud

Apple's ongoing issues with environmental groups were thrust to the forefront today in Catawba County, NC, WCNC News reports. Protesters in Catawba blocked the train tracks leading to the Marshall Steam Station, which powers a data center Apple uses for its iCloud service.

Four protesters locked themselves to the train tracks, while others hung a sign reading "Save Our Mountain Clean The Cloud." The protesters also draped an Apple logo over a train car, claiming that Apple's expansion of its data center will be powered by coal. It took police about an hour to unchain the protesters -- who hailed from Greenpeace and a number of other environmental groups -- from the tracks and to remove the logos draped over the coal.

Apple in the past has received somewhat positive marks from environmental groups, ranking fourth in Greenpeace's "Guide to Greener Electronics," as well as receiving some praise for its plans to build a solar energy farm to help power the data center the train activists were protesting. The data center will also draw some of its power from Bloom Energy fuel cells later this year.

by MacNN Staff





  1. BigJayhawk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all about the BIGGEST STAGE

    Even Carnival Acts look for the biggest stage they can get for the buck. When stupid onlookers just MOVE ON then Apple will move out of the spotlight. It wouldn't matter if Microsoft was burning Coal in BUCKETS on their front lawn. Microsoft is old news and, thus, presents no opportunity for a proper stage.

    However, considering that every car accident in the Northbound Lane yields a massive traffic jam in the SOUTHBOUND LANES, I don't think we will EVER get past the idiots that just look for the biggest stage they can find to primp for the Press on the biggest stage they can find - regardless of the "logic" of the target.

    So, I'd say just stop reporting these things, BUT that will never happen.

  1. rodvera

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why don't they go protest, the Electric Co, Gas co, Car makers etc. Idiots.

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple is quite a green company, maybe they should go after the real polluters. How come I don't see them doing this to Exxon-Mobil?

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ...get our electricity from coal burning! I hope these idiots live in the forest and have set up hydroelectric dams to really support their cause...

  1. baggy_pants

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's all about baseload. Apple must have reliable power, solar isn't there, gas is questionable - not because it is being used to generate at least 5% of their load through the mentioned Bloom Energy Fuel Cells - but because the jury is decidedly out on whether gas extraction (especially Coal Seam Gas) is actually environmentally beneficial.

    So it must go with traditional, reliable sources.

    The point also needs to be made here that only 2% of Apple's carbon footprint is in the running of it's facilities (all stores, head office, campus etc - and the new datacentre will be one of them), it's largely in manufacture and distribution.

    So it's almost like complaining about the exhaust on the old woman's car as she picks up her vegies from the local grocer for the week, compared to the interstate trucking and distribution of vast amounts of vegies from all over the place.

    It's just bad logic.

    They need to turn around, the elephant in the room is behind them.

  1. nostrademas

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's a shame

    This activity all seems to revolve around Greenpeace's recent report that was unfortunately flawed with bad data and assumptions. For example, they assumed that Apple's data centres used 5 times as much electricity as they do in reality. Why? Because Apple had its data centres designed for low power use! But they're obviously hideously environmentally unfriendly! They're only building new solar to power most of their big office needs and have a couple of sites running 100% renewable.

    What's a shame here is that the campaigners are bringing down the reputation of legitimate protest with misguided targets, purely playing off Apple's high click-rate on the internet.

  1. sibeale1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Half the story

    I don't mind keeping pressure on Apple to be more energy efficient, but the protesters would gain more credibility if they would suggest a viable alternative to Apple's present energy use. Do they want Apple to use less coal by going out of business?

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wrong Focus

    Yesterday in White Rock BC there was a similar protest however they made it about Coal.
    The message was not lost. Coal and its impact on climate change was front and center.

    By making the NC protest about Apple they totally wasted their effort. They lost focus. It was a stupid rookie mistake.

  1. glideslope

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why did the train stop?
    Seems the quickest path to resolution would be to keep going?

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If the morons are dumb enough to lock themselves to train tracks, they deserve to be run over by a train.

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