Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Straight talk from Don Blankenship

Print Version > Coal CEO calls environmentalists crazy
Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest coal company in the country, blasted politics and the press, comparing Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden Thursday evening when he addressed the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson.

“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,” he said. “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?” he asked.

Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy.”

Those are the words Blankenship used to describe Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as environmental groups. He said he felt simple terms were the only ones the country could understand, that more sophisticated language was over the head of the general public.

“When we talk about it in more articulate ways, the American public doesn’t get it,” he said.

Blankenship told the crowd, which overflowed the room, spilling over to fill the Brass Tree Restaurant, that coal is getting a lot of undeserved bad press. The coal business, he said, needs to start standing up for itself in the face of the negative image being portrayed by politicians, special interests and the press.

Blankenship said the business community should put their business interests first, not environmental interests.

“They can say what they want about climate change,” he said. “But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy.”

“The business community doesn’t want to lose any skin,” he said, referring to the skinned knees he sustained playing football as a boy. “Being scratched up is not so bad, but the political elite are so comfortable that they think their mission in life now is to save the world.”

Many people would give support to groups who work to disprove global warming if it was not so politically incorrect, Blankenship said.

“How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Asso-ciation, ‘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.”

Blankenship said politicians misrepresent facts when it comes to the environment. “Politicians occasionally trip over the truth,” he said, “but they get up and go on as if nothing happened.” He said the amount of pollution produced by American coal is negligible compared to the environmental damage done by other countries.

“Its nonsensical, its idiotic. And yet, we call it two different sides, partisan, Democrat or Republican,” he said. “If Pelosi thinks that decreasing CO2 in this country is going to save the polar bears, she’s crazy. If CO2 emissions are going to kill the polar bears, it’s going to happen. What we do here [in the US] is not going to it.”

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