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(Cross-posted at Facing South.)

To mark Labor Day this coming Monday, Massey Energy is holding a Friends of America Rally in Holden, W.V.

The event, which will be emceed by rocker Ted Nugent and will feature a speech by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity and musical performances by Hank Williams Jr. and John Rich, is billing itself as a rally for American jobs. It's expected to draw as many as 70,000 people to a former strip mine in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

But the rally (reported on previously at Daily Kos by Carnacki) is also designed to build support against federal legislation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, with its website inviting visitors to sign the National Mining Association's petition against the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

It's not surprising that Massey Energy -- the fourth-largest coal producer in the U.S. and a major mountaintop removal operator -- would be sponsoring a rally against legislation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. After all, Massey's profits are dependent upon continuing to shift the costs of coal-related pollution onto the public. Furthermore, CEO Don Blankenship doesn't even believe in man-made climate change.

But what is surprising is that one of the rallies sponsors is Verizon Wireless, a division of Verizon, a New York-based company that has long touted its positive environmental record.

On its website, for example, Verizon brags about efforts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and its use of solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells. In 2006, the company joined the California Climate Action Registry, and it's a participant in the Carbon Disclosure Project registry of corporate greenhouse gas emissions and a member of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative Climate Change Working Group.

This week the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity notified Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam that it would organize a boycott if the company didn't withdraw its sponsorship of the rally. The Center reports that 14,500 letters were sent to Verizon in just one day calling for the company's withdrawal.

"Verizon Wireless can't claim to be 'going green' and then join forces with one of the dirtiest companies in the world," said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center. "Verizon can't keep its hands green and sponsor an event that supports the destruction of Appalachia and the extinction of a third of the earth's species due to climate change."

Originally posted to Sue Sturgis on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I will need to compare my contract. (6+ / 0-)

      Verizon and other wireless companies frequently change wording in contracts.  If this has changed then one may discontinue contracted service without penalty.  I'm going to compare the contract I approved with the current contract language and see if I can support the boycott.

      Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

      by Fossil on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:23:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You should link to previous rec list on this (5+ / 0-)

      Carnacki's diary gave excellent info on the boycott.

      "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

      by histopresto on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:45:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Done. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        histopresto, sardonyx

        I wonder why that didn't come up when I did a search for Verizon before posting this piece? Drat.

        •  That's great. Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

          This is more attention online to Logan County, WV than they typically get in a year.  I'm still betting that the assistance Verizon is giving this debacle is in service, not funding, since I'm pretty sure that there's no good cell coverage in this area unless you add a portable tower unit.

          "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

          by histopresto on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell them to watch out..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for the selenium in the Logan county water from the mountop removal.  Fish with eyes on the same side of their heads.  Ick.


            A federal judge has for the first time ordered a West Virginia coal operator to stop discharging illegal levels of the toxic mineral selenium into state streams.

            U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers gave Apogee Coal Co. four months to clean up its selenium discharges in Logan County.

            Chambers gave Apogee, an arm of Magnum Coal, 30 days to submit a plan containing a compliance schedule. The company has 90 days after that to implement the plan or show the judge why it cannot do so.

            "In passing the [Clean Water Act], Congress made a clear policy choice in favor of environmental protection," Chambers wrote in a 20-page decision. The judge added, "There is no exception to permit compliance because such compliance is expensive."

            Thank you Judge Chambers.  DEP needs to suck it in an enforce the perits they issue.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:00:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Because neither title nor tags included (0+ / 0-)

          the term "Verizon" or even "Verizon Wireless". Carnacki's original diary does now, as does his follow-up tonight.

          © sardonyx; all rights reserved

          by sardonyx on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:58:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Let them know! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Give Verizon a call and let them know you aren't thrilled with who they're getting in bed with. I got a number for Verizon's HQ off of google (412-913-2000) - turned out to be a generic sales number or something, but the lady was very helpful and gave me the number for Verizon Wireless's Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Lanman.

      You can reach Mike's office at 908-559-7007.

      Let them know, if you're a customer, that you're considering canceling. And if you're not, let them know you're never going to be one if they don't cancel the sponsorship.

      Also, try calling that first number again (412-913-2000) - maybe we can get the numbers for a few more of Verizon's execs.

      Don't delay, call today!

  •  I'm quite upset about this! (8+ / 0-)

    I just bought a Verizon Blackberry Storm.  Had I known that Verizon is using profits from me to support dirty coal and Sean Hannity, I would have reconsidered.  

    Hike On! discussing national parks, public lands, and outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:22:24 PM PDT

  •  Get 'em Sue! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore, Sue Sturgis

    Thanks for staying on the corporatists trail. I've written to Verizon already and will be changing carriers when my contract expires.

  •  I sent an email to corporate yesterday (9+ / 0-)

    asking if the CEO agreed with Ted Nugent, who is billed as the "talent" for the event. He said:

    "Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch" (said while waving a machine gun around).

    If that's the sort of hateful rhetoric Verizon supports, they can have my contract, penalty or not.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM PDT

  •  Before you change carriers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not that I am any fan of those that support this energy company,

    Just where are Sprint & ATT and other wireless carriers on the issue.

    Also very frustrating when options are limited due to the # of towers in your area supporting ones choice of carriers.

    "Kudos to those willing to stick their necks out over the block, before the rest of us are willing to admit we are reading the diary!"

    by midwestmom on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:32:31 PM PDT

  •  Honestly though...doesn't that sound like a (0+ / 0-)

    horrible event?

    Ted Fucking Nugent.

    Let me grab my m16 so I won't be out of place when I show up.


    Deferment Dick -The Happy Torturer

    by Mr Magu on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:42:17 PM PDT

    •  I have to confess... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that I really like some of Ted's music. But his emceeing, well, that would be a whole other thing.

      •  Mold for brains does have his moments (0+ / 0-)

        but darn few. Personally I'm glad he moved out of Jackson county and went to TX. It seems like a logical place for him, although it might have been fun to watch him run for MI governor.  Much like watching a Gomez Addams train wreck.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:09:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had a post about this same rally (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carnacki, murrayewv, Sue Sturgis

    ...and I wonder how Verizon Wireless is going to feel about whether it really wants to be associated with Ted Nugent, who last year had some most threatening things to say during a concert rant against then-Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. That should be more than just a little troubling for a corporate giant supposedly concerned about its public image.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by alaprst on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:44:09 PM PDT

  •  At these rallies, they turn out all these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ordinary people. Well if teabaggers can be considered ordinary, anyway.

    Why don't the country club mountaintop removers and overpaid radio hosts do the protesting themselves?

    Sarah Palin is attacking the Death Star Panel from her Rebel Snow Machine.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:48:57 PM PDT

  •  They are there to sell phone service (0+ / 0-)

    Their target is 70,000 people - that is to build and support a business that IS friendly to the enviroment.  

    We should be happy that there are U.S. companies such as Verizon that are doing so well in a poor economy.

    I wouldn't read too much into all of this.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:01:03 PM PDT

  •  Washes its hands ... (0+ / 0-)

    "Verizon can't keep its hands green and sponsor an event that supports the destruction of Appalachia and the extinction of a third of the earth's species due to climate change."

    But won't wipe its butt.

    iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - ulpian, digestae 1, 3

    by fritzrth on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:47:06 PM PDT

  •  I got a voice mail from VZW today (0+ / 0-)

    "Hi (ICD) this is Yolanda from Verizon Wireless giving you a call in reference to the email that you sent about the Friends of America rally and, um, I do apologize for any frustration that this has caused - however, the sponsorship you're concerned about was a local decision to support the community and sell our products at the event. It is not a statement of our policy on any public issue so you see it really has nothing to do with, um, Verizon Wireless as a company. If you need additional assistance feel free give me a call - my number's 803-400-4456 extension 3872. Take care, bye bye."

    by InsultComicDog on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 03:19:50 PM PDT

  •  Photostream.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    showing coal mining sludge from Logan County, where this "festival" is located.

    The sludge has selenium in it- washed into the water from the overburden disturbed.

    A leading scientist has warned state regulators that selenium pollution from mountaintop removal mining has pushed the Mud River watershed to "the brink of a major toxic event."

    West Virginia regulators have generally bent over backwards to help the coal industry avoid having to reduce this pollution and eliminate selenium violations. But earlier this year, when lawmakers passed a bill giving coal operators three more years to comply, even the state Department of Environmental Protection thought it was going too far.

    Now, evidence has surfaced that there are growing selenium problems in the coalfields over in Kentucky — and allegations that regulators there sat on the information until they got a new, industry-wide general permit approved without selenium limits or comprehensive selenium monitoring.

    Environmental groups today are releasing the results of the  water monitoring and fish tissue sampling that shows violations of the state’s water quality standard for selenium and of the level of selenium experts consider safe in fish.


    Day before yesterday, a federal judge gave them 90 days to clean up.  
    link  This is good news, but we still are some years before they stop this crap.

    Try looking at the MTR right near holden WV with Google earth, Carnecki.  You can hone right in on the sludge and the destroyed, poorly reforested sites which are over 20 years old- and then people are going to run generators and go out there and claim this is just swell.  If you wanted miners, what happened to the old coal camps?  MTR needs less people and big machines are very efficient.  Pack up the lost history of mining and move out with everything not nailed down.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:53:30 PM PDT

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