Environmental Protestors Block Trains Full Of Coal Meant To Power Apple’s iCloud Data Center

Environmental Protestors Block Trains Full Of Coal Meant To Power Apple’s iCloud Data Center

Environmental protesters block coal trains meant to power Apple's Maiden, NC data facility.

Greenpeace likes to target Apple every year or so to keep them environmentally honest, and lately, the environmental access group has been going after Apple’s giant data supercenter in Maiden, North Carolina, claiming that it helps make iCloud one of the dirtiest things on the planet.

What Greenpeace is upset about is how much of the data center’s power comes from non-renewable resources, particularly coal. And they don’t think that Apple’s going far enough with its plans for solar energy plans.

Now the protests are getting real, with seven Greenpeace activists blocking train tracks used by Duke Energy and Apple use to ship coal.

WCNC reports:

Four protesters locked themselves to the train tracks near the Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County and two others hung a sign reading “Save Our Mountain Clean The Cloud.”  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Charlotte Fire Department officials responded around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Activists from Greenpeace, Keepers of the Mountains Foundation, Katuah Earth First! and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival took part in the event.  The protesters branded the train cars with the Apple logo to show that the company’s Maiden data center will be powered by more coal as it expands.

Police soon came in and disbanded the protest, taking seven people into custody and charging them with trespassing.

Duke Energy says, on their part, their doing their best to shut down their oldest and dirtiest coal plants, but clearly this isn’t a quick fix issue. Apple’s energy requirements are more than solar panels can currently provide, and unfortunately, most of the North Carolina’s electricity — up to 62% — comes from coal-fired power plants. Apple may have been attracted to North Carolina by the tax breaks, but they probably never expected that they’d inherit the state’s coal controversy.

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  • Kye Alan Russell

    Meh, typical idiotic Greenpeace. “I know guys, if we protest hard enough the logistically impossible will happen!”  Apple’s iCloud datacenter is well…crazy huge,  good luck instantly powering that thing using ‘renewable energy’. The world is heading towards renewable energy and everyone knows it, but sometimes people ask for too much.

  • Luis Garza

    If I were driving a train and knew they were greenpeace ecoterrorists, I wouldn’t stop.

  • Timothy Ingram

    The words Greenpeace and Activist should never be used within the same sentence.

  • James Anders

    Don’t these people have jobs?

  • Tallest_Skil


    Don’t these people have jobs?

    The 99% don’t need jobs, silly.

  • ButchMiller55

    Maybe if Apple were more like the Federal Government and had a $100 B deficit … Greenpeace could find something else to protest about? It’s too bad that so many feel success has to be punished … rather than emulated …

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    Why is it that you fanboys tout Apple’s “green-ness” when it comes to their computers, but when an establishment comes around and says that Apple can afford to go a couple steps further, you defend Apple? Shit, you children need to learn that a multimillion dollar corporation doesn’t need help from you: a minority activist group that gives a shit about our enviornment DOES need your help. It’s so sickening that you’re comfortable saying companies, particularly Apple, are doing enough. Companies aren’t doing enough. Apple sits on 100 billion dollars. THAT MEANS THEY CAN AFFORD TO DO MORE.

  • ApplePr0n

    Omg, seriously. Go plant a tree or something

  • sonofsci

    I noticed that some A-hole “disagreed” with everyone.  This comment system is so idiotic.  Also, the like button kind of dilutes the number of “agrees” one gets.  I digress.

    I always thought trains loaded with cargo were difficult to stop.  I would hate to see any…accidents occur. 
  • Swordfish

    Why is it that you fanboys tout Apple’s “green-ness” when it comes to their computers, but when an establishment comes around and says that Apple can afford to go a couple steps further, you defend Apple? Shit, you children need to learn that a multimillion dollar corporation doesn’t need help from you: a minority activist group that gives a shit about our enviornment DOES need your help. It’s so sickening that you’re comfortable saying companies, particularly Apple, are doing enough. Companies aren’t doing enough. Apple sits on 100 billion dollars. THAT MEANS THEY CAN AFFORD TO DO MORE.

    The largest privately owned solar farm isn’t enough? Would you like them to run the data center on unobtainium?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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