At a hearing with top US coal executives, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) agreed with a statement made by another coal CEO, Massey coal baron Don Blankenship. Last year — a few months before his Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, WV, exploded, killing 29 miners in the worst US coal disaster in 40 years — Blankenship said that the efforts by officials to get Massey Energy to improve mine safety are as “silly as global warming.” Inslee replied that “it’s actually very true”:
It’s actually very true. Mine safety is as silly as global warming — they’re both deadly serious and they’re not silly at all.
In his full opening remarks, Inslee noted that several headlines tell the story of the deadly dangers of our dependence on coal — a killer tsunami in Peru caused by a glacier breaking apart, the disappearance of yet more glaciers from Glacier National Park, and the Montcoal mine disaster. “If you decide to join with us to try to find a way to have a policy that will allow coal to be burned in a way that does not put massive amounts of CO2, that does not treat the atmosphere as a garbage dump, that in fact buries it underground,” Inslee said, “coal can have a future. If you don’t, it won’t.”
The House Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing was later interrupted by youth climate activists, who confronted the CEOs of Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Rio Tinto with lumps of dirty coal.