Bird Dogging the Coal Barons

posted by scott parkin

Being an anti-coal activist leaves you with mixed emotions. Frustration, anger, triumph, joy, sadness and, of course, amazement at the ability of the coal industry to get away with spinning their offensive bull#*@t into mainstream consciousness.

It’s not just that Massey CEO Don “Profits over Safety” Blankenship thinks that Massey Energy had an above average safety record. Or the statement at his $1 million tea party last Labor Day, claiming that safety inspectors care more about Massey employees safety than Massey does “is as silly as global warming.” But forget him, the industry is going to follow suit with the media, Wall St. and Obama and put Blankenship out of our misery faster than Michael Corleone sending Fredo off on a fishing trip.

It’s what the CEOs (Peabody, Rio Tinto, Arch Coal) sitting at the less medicated table in the fossil fuel asylum are saying that bugs me. Yesterday, Peabody CEO Greg Boyce told lapdogs in Congress working on the (ruin the) climate bill that clean coal is the solution to global warming.

Ummm, what’s he smoking? Right now, Boyce’s “clean coal” is drenched in the blood of 29 miners in the Coal River Valley. Whether it’s burned using their undeveloped untested false solution known as “Carbon Capture and Storage” or not, it’s still coming from the destruction of our mountains and at the cost of those miners’ lives that frankly Corporate America doesn’t give two flying flips about.

Fortunately, my comrades in the growing anti-coal movement slipped in and served these coal chimps with a big fat dose of reality before being escorted out by security (Code Pink, where are you when we need you?).

It’s really nothing less than organized crime. Al Capone and John Gotti have nothing on these guys. The banks finance them, the government regulates “kindler, gentler” extraction methods that poison and kill the planet, the media reinforces their propaganda either with the sympathetic news stories or paid advertising and the rest of us are cattle grazing the fieldsl waiting for a trip to the slaugherhouse. They are now singling out Massey as the bad apple, when the reality is the whole truckload of rotten apple barrels is steering us off a very steep cliff.

I hate sounding like a hippie lost in the 60’s, but when I hear “it’s the system, man” there’s truth in that. No one person is responsible. Throwing Don Blankenship under the bus is not going solve global warming or end mountaintop removal (it actually gives the climate monkeys a scapegoat.) There are a lot of systemic, structural changes that need to occur. Activists have been raising the alarms about the coal industry for decades, even centuries. Now we need to put up or give up.