Climate

Coal Baron Blankenship Calls Critics ‘Communists,’ ‘Atheists,’ And ‘Greeniacs’

Last Thursday, Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest United States coal company, ranted that his critics were “communists,” “atheists,” and “greeniacs.” In an address before the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson, WV, Blankenship said those who criticize him are “our enemies” like Osama bin Laden:

It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends. Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama bin Laden was critical of us?

These are actually mild words for Don Blankenship, the “scariest polluter in the United States.” This spring, Blankenship was caught on tape threatening to shoot an ABC reporter and then assaulting him:

What have the “atheists” at the Charleston Gazette done that merits Blankenship comparing them to Osama bin Laden? They’ve reported on:

The Fatal Aracoma Mine Fire. In the months before the fatal 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine, which had 25 violations of health and safety laws, Blankenship personally waived company policy and told mine managers to ignore rules and “run coal.”

Political Corruption. Blankenship has spent millions of dollars to influence West Virginia judgeships and state legislative races, and palled around in Monte Carlo with state Supreme Court Chief Justice Elliott “Spike” Maynard and their “female friends” in July 2006. The state court reversed a $77 million verdict against Massey in 2008.

Mountaintop Removal. Massey Energy is the king of the incredibly destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining. The Bush Administration (which includes former Massey officials) overturned Clinton-era rules limiting the practice. Massey now plans to destroy Coal River Mountain despite lacking necessary permits.

Blankenship sits on the boards of the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Mining Association, who are running multimillion-dollar campaigns to block global warming regulations and fight the Employee Free Choice Act. Blankenship claimed that global warming deniers like himself are being silenced by “greeniacs,” and called Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, and Harry Reid “totally wrong” and “absolutely crazy“:

How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, “I don’t believe in climate change, but I’m afraid to say that because it is a political reality”? The greeniacs are taking over the world.

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