The lawyers and engineers who dwell in an elegant enclave here are at peace with the hulking neighbor just over the back fence: a vast energy plant that burns thousands of tons of household garbage and industrial waste, round the clock. The Vestforbraending plant in Copenhagen, the largest of the 29 waste-to-energy plants in Denmark. Their use has reduced the country’s energy costs.
Last week, Rush Limbaugh responded to the West Virginia mining disaster by attacking “the left.” Limbaugh was especially incensed that “propagandists” linked the disaster to “tea parties, global warming, and capitalism.” He rallied to the defense of coal baron Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, who promotes his radical philosophy of coal profits above all else on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
At Crooks and Liars, they’re the ones that are putting out the notion that this guy Blankenship — by the way he’s committed another crime, too — he’s on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce. Yeah, that’s reported as though that’s a strike against him. Oh, yeah, he’s one of those guys, Chamber of Commerce guys. That means he’s for big profit at the expense of the working man.
Blankenship has, in fact, repeatedly admitted that he is “for big profit at the expense of the working man.” In 1984, he described how he works to “sell coal cheaper to drive union coal out of business.” He continued that “unions, communities, people, everybody’s going to have to learn” that capitalism is “survival of the most productive.” In 2005, he told his workers to “ignore” requests by safety inspectors “to do anything other than run coal” because “the coal pays the bills.”
Limbaugh also questioned why people are blaming Republicans who “fought new regulations” instead of the “Obama regime”:
Now, what the hell here? We’re going to blame Republicans for this? It was Bush’s fault at the Sago mine. Now we’re gonna blame this guy for contributing to Republicans because I guess Republicans fought new regulations? And now the Obama regime is angry? Has the Obama regime not been in office for over a year, have they not had their own labor board people in there? I’ll tell you, I don’t have a word to describe my disgust for these people. Every damn thing that happens gets politicized. I tell you what, folks, they are purposely dividing this country to create the chaos and the unrest that exists.
Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh asked why a coal miner union didn’t protect the 29 miners who were killed when Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV, exploded under unsafe conditions:
Was there no union responsibility for improving mine safety? Where was the union here? Where was the union? The union is generally holding these companies up demanding all kinds of safety. Why were these miners continuing to work in what apparently was an unsafe atmosphere?
There’s a simple reason the union didn’t protect the miners: the Upper Big Branch Mine, like nearly all of the mines under Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s control, is non-union. In fact, the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) “tried three times to organize the Upper Big Branch mine, but even with getting nearly 70 percent of workers to sign cards saying they wanted to vote for a union, Blankenship personally met with workers to threaten them with closing down the mine and losing their jobs if they voted for a union.”
Blankenship rose in Massey’s ranks by breaking its union mines in the 1980s. Blankenship said then that busting unions is “invaluable” to profits, as non-union companies can “sell coal cheaper and drive union coal out of business.”
Immediately following the tragedy, the UMW sent trained support personnel to the disaster site. “We are all brothers and sisters in the coalfields at times like this,” UMW President Cecil Roberts said in a statement offering the assistance, which was refused by Massey company officials.
Alaska’s Begich on bill’s chances: “I’d give it a 60 percent shot out of 100, which is better than two months ago.”
The Senate’s top Democrat said yesterday he is still dedicated to spending valuable floor time this year on comprehensive climate and energy legislation, but the three sponsors of the plan may have to go member-by-member in order to deliver a package capable of mustering 60 votes.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he wants to bring the bill from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to the floor later this spring or summer.
“We’re going to really try very hard,” Reid told reporters. Asked if the July 4th recess was his target for the floor debate, he said, “I don’t have a definite time. A lot is waiting until we get the bill. I’ve been pushing very hard to get the bill.”
Looks like the most important environmental debate of our time very likely will, in fact, be happening this spring and summer, as this E&E Daily (subs. req’d) story today makes clear.
Lieberman says the bipartisan bill is still on track to be released next week:
On Saturday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli attended the Powhatan Taxpayers’ Alliance Tea Party rally to address his beloved base. Think Progress has the details of his anti-science pandering:
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.