Verizon Wireless is facing intense criticism for its co-sponsorship of dirty coal company Massey Energy’s “Friends of America” rally this Labor Day weekend in Logan, West Virginia.
To give you an idea of how outrageous this rally is, note that the featured speaker is infamous global-warming denier Lord Christopher Monckton, and the emcee is none other than right wing machine-gun rocker Ted Nugent (who threatened to kill President Obama and Hillary Clinton). Oh, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity will be there too for good measure. The venue? A former surface mine, of course.
The rally was organized by Massey Energy, the mountaintop destroyers who are wiping out our nation’s carbon sink of deciduous forests in Appalachia, blocking attempts to bring renewable energy and green jobs to the region, and continuing a decades-long assault on workers’ unions. Massey CEO Don Blankenship says the goal of the rally is “to learn how environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs.”
Massey, like Monckton, denies the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, and keeps on devastating the local communities caught in its mountaintop removal blasting zones. Massey’s illegal dumping of coal slurry waste, rubble, wastewater and toxic pollutants into Appalachian waterways led the EPA to fine the company $20 million last year for over 4,500 violations of the Clean Water Act.
The folks at Massey Energy are not “Friends of America” by any stretch. They are destroying our climate, burying our waterways, eviscerating our labor protections and destroying the proud cultural and ecological history of Appalachia.
So why is Verizon Wireless, which, according its website, “works every day to protect our environment and give our customers opportunities to do the same,” now partnering with the largest violator of the Clean Water Act in American history?
This controversy is causing a big media headache for Verizon, generating outrage across the blogosphere. The youth climate movement blog It’s Getting Hot In Here wins best title with “Verizon Wireless: Open Mouth, Insert Mountain.”
Verizon Wireless needs to explain to shareholders and its 87 million customers why it stands behind Massey’s mountaintop removal, climate-change denial, and union-busting ways.
The folks over at Credo Action are encouraging Verizon customers to communicate their displeasure with the company’s sponsorship - via Twitter, Facebook, Email and this petition. The Center for Biological Diversity has an action page, Rainforest Action Network does as well. And Powershift ‘09 too.
Contact Verizon Wireless corporate leaders and tell them to clean up their act. CEO Dennis Strigl can be emailed at [email protected]. Verizon HQ is here:
1 Verizon Way
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-1097