(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."