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Coal, corruption and campaign finance reform

By Dylan Matthews

The Massey Energy coal mine explosion yesterday was tragic, killing 25 people, more than any accident since decades. Sadly, it was also all too predictable. The disaster appears to be the consequence of a failed ventilation system allowing high levels of methane to accumulate. Federal investigators have fined Massey hundreds of thousands of dollars because of improper ventilation systems, and inadequate firefighting equipment. In 2006, a similar violation resulted in a fire that killed two miners.

Even aside from its abysmal safety record, Massey, and its leader, Don Blankenship, are almost cartoonishly villainous in the way they approach everything from the environment to union rights to media scrutiny. They've pioneered mountain top removal mining, a particularly destructive form of mining that dirties local water supplies, ruins animal habitats, and damages the foundations of nearby houses, all while eliminating much of the Appalachians. Massey refuses to hire union workers, and thus denies its workers an advocacy group that could press for, among other things, safer ventilation systems. And Blankenship himself has been downright thuggish to critics and reporters, grabbing an ABC news camera and saying the cameraman was "liable to get shot" if he kept taking pictures.

If you think this makes Massey unpopular among residents of West Virginia, where it does most of its mining, you'd be right. West Virginians overwhelmingly oppose mountaintop removal mining, and some politicians, like Sen. Robert Byrd and Rep. Nick Rahall, openly criticize Massey. But the effects are limited, as Blankenship has more or less purchased the state's government. He's certainly bought the state Supreme Court, spending millions to unseat a justice who had ruled in favor of mine workers. The court, including the new justice Blankenship had elected, soon thereafter reversed a $50 million judgment against Massey. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually had to demand a rehearing of the case with the new justice recusing himself, because the quid pro quo involved was so obvious. Similarly, when Gov. Joe Manchin proposed a bond not to Blankenship's liking, the businessman spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to sink it. After the bond vote, Blankenship sued Manchin, saying the governor's attempts to regulate Massey amounted to punishment of Blankenship for opposing the bond measure, and thus was a violation of his free speech rights.

I'm generally skeptical of arguments for campaign finance reform that paint it as a panacea for political wrongdoing. But reform that limits what Massey and Blankenship can spend on West Virginian campaigns would clearly make for a fairer democratic process, where public opposition to coal can actually matter. It would require a lot of political will on the part of state lawmakers, but the state can hardly afford to not crack down on coal producers when the consequences are on the scale of last night's accident. Rahall, for his part, is demanding accountability from Massey for the accident. That's a good start.

-- Dylan Matthews is a student at Harvard and a researcher at The Washington Post.

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By Multiplatform Editor  |  April 6, 2010; 1:25 PM ET
 | Tags: Coal mining, Don Blankenship, Massey Energy, Mountaintop removal mining, West Virginia  
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Comments

The first thing that needs to be done is to put some teeth into the fines that these corporation pay for law violations -- or simply shut them down if they don't fix something the first time. Gross negligence, and all in the name of profit. How very, very sad.

Posted by: trichw | April 6, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

He should have spent the money he used to try to defeat Democrats to make the mines safer.The miners and their families are GOOD people.

Posted by: brownshopbears2000 | April 6, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there's case law on this, but... why can't campaign contributions be limited to people actually able to vote for the office in question? In other words, why exactly am I (a citizen of New Jersey) allowed to donate to a candidate in California? I'm not allowed to vote in that election; why am I allowed to influence it?

Posted by: gilroy0 | April 6, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The is why regulation is important and why labor and workers need representation both in government and the private sector. Not surprisingly, this jerk, Massey, is a big-time Republican donor. Why,

Posted by: jbentley4 | April 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Whilst I hardly ever think that government is the solution for anything, this seems to be one case where it may well be. Coal is an abundant and useful energy source, and needs to be used more and more in this economy. But people like Blankenship give the coal industry, and businesses in general a bad name. Fines and penalties should be stiff enough to make it cheaper for the companies to correct the problems, than to just continue paying the fines.
One of the great things about capitalism in this country is that it allows us to generate enough wealth that we can "clean up after ourselves."

Posted by: OveyFan | April 6, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

For all your hand wringing about Massey and it's supposedly evil president, we still await your first condemnation of ACORN. The events yesterday were truly tragic and on such a massive scale. If the firm was negligent I hope every punishment available under law is dispensed, but campaign reform law and union organization aren't the solution. Supplementing evil management with corrupt unions hasn't been a winning combination in decades. And campaign finance reform has as much to do with mine safety as bicycle laws for fish.

Posted by: ecrutle | April 6, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The campaign finance laws that the recent supreme court threw out were created because of the obvious corruption of large companies that buy state governments wholesale. Study the effect of Anaconda Corp in Montana for example.

If you think this is bad, wait a few years. It is only going to get worse unless congress finds a way to mitigate the worst effects of corporate corruption.

Posted by: reussere | April 6, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Its just like illegal immigration. Until you shut down the company and jail the CEO, they will continue to thumb their noses at any laws. The current penalties and level of enforcement make it profitable for these companies to violate safety laws or hire illegal workers. In this case what is the regulatory fine for mass murder? Its only negligence when you do it by accident. When it is intentional and premeditated disregard for known conditions........

Posted by: berwicktom | April 6, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

i think i read correctly that this company was guilty of 57 violations last month
how is it, with the kinds of perilous safety issues involved for coal miners, that this operation wasnt shut down til the violations were fixed?
57 violations, and they still sent miners down into these shafts?

Posted by: jkaren | April 6, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes to berwicktom:

Massey CEOs should be prosecuted in criminal courts and serve time in addition to paying fines. This could set a good precedent (and act as a deterrent for future CEOs).

I hope the miners' families join together and file a criminal complaint.

Posted by: onewing1 | April 6, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, I for one am EAGERLY awaiting the implementation of the Supremes' ruling giving corporations unfettered spending access to campaigns. That'll sure straighten things out -- like in West Virginia.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | April 6, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

particularly when there are these disasters, such as sago, and this terrible one, i think how unbelievably difficult and scary it is to work in mines. i cant imagine it.....going underground in pitch black darkness....small shafts, little oxygen, unstable areas....removed from light and activity above ground.
i also cant imagine how difficult a life it is, if someone you love is working in those mines. no day can really be an easy day.
and seeing the person appear home at the end of shift, must be a moment that one can never take forgranted.
i am sad for all of the families....and for the other coal miners, that face these risks each day, when their company allows them to go down, even with so many safety violations.
really terrible to think about.

Posted by: jkaren | April 6, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

God Bless KKKlean KKKoal and all the many benefits it brings......

Posted by: bgreen2224 | April 6, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

particularly when there are these disasters, such as sago, and this terrible one, i think how unbelievably difficult and scary it is to work in mines. i cant imagine it.....going underground in pitch black darkness....small shafts, little oxygen, unstable areas....removed from light and activity above ground.
i also cant imagine how difficult a life it is, if someone you love is working in those mines. no day can really be an easy day.
and seeing the person appear home at the end of shift, must be a moment that one can never take forgranted.
i am sad for all of the families....and for the other coal miners, that face these risks each day, when their company allows them to go down, even with so many safety violations.
really terrible to think about.

Posted by: jkaren | April 6, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

An historical note: in April, 1947. there was a huge mine disaster in Centralia, IL. Thanks to the great reporting in the St Louis Post Dispatch (which received a Pulitzer)the corruption in the state agencies was uncovered and exposed. Gov. Dwight Green, running comfortably ahead in his bid for a third term, found his reputation in disarray, which allowed the previously unheralded Democratic candidate, Adlai Stevenson, to snatch victory in 1948. And go on from there.

Posted by: petermollman | April 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

That such political and environmental atrocities occur under our noses is truly negligent. US-based companies have dirtied and ruined many foreign lands with hazardous waste and pollution because their CEOs and Boards of Directors knew they were immune from prosecution by the governments who unfortunately welcomed them. It is wrong to destroy anyone's land by unethical use. What a shame that US citizens (and otehr citizens of the world) who welcome the opportunity for work end up dying due to hazards on the job or the by-product of that job. Why are regulations and laws in our own country so ineffectual? As a nation we should demand and get statutes that stop the blatant abuses by Massey Energy and the countless other companies that destroy lives and landscapes.

Posted by: gumbogirl | April 6, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ezra for your keen insights. We need to totally eliminate coal from the energy equation. Thankfully we'll get the benefits of green energy soon, even if we have to spend trillions to subsidize the process. It will take only a few decades to achieve the benefits of this Administration's oil drilling (oops, strike drilling) exploration, and nuclear initiatives. We can wait. I, for one, have plenty of candles.

Posted by: apberusdisvet | April 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

There really are some idiots posting here, now how the hell does one blame the democrats for this, the monied class in this country, the ones that protect companies like Massey are the Republicans.

With that said we ALL grieve for and want a better working environment for all our people but especially those putting their lives on the line like these miners.

There isn't one progressive or democrat out there who was jubilant about this event and to make accusations is just typical of the conservatives.

I'm tired of the idiots who insist on equating ACORN to things of this nature. They are not the same thing and the ACORN (besides if you want to bring up things like this, I'm still waiting for the presecution of the last US GOP regime for getting us into the Iraq war based on lies)thing was nothing more than muckraking by the Conservatives who were and still are angry for their losses in the last two elections and the health care vote.

Regardless of what the idiot conservative posters have to say here, progressives or conservatives should be grieving for the families' losses and trying to work together to provide a safer working environment for the miners.

Only an idiot would equate ACORN to the deaths of these fine men and only a bigot would make sweeping generalizations about unions. Stop talking out of places where the sun never shines and think about the health and welfare of our citizens.

Unions wouldn't be necessary if corporations and employers in general could be trusted to do right by their employees but for the most part we cannot trust the people with money in this country so unions must be a fact of life otherwise we'll all end up as indentured servants to people like those that run Massey.

Posted by: davidbronx | April 6, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I MUST SAY I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE AMERICANS DO NOT GET VERY, VERY UPSET AND HIT THE STREETS AND SHUT DOWN
THESE CORRUPT BUSINESS MEN BUT ACT ON PROPAGANDA AND RAISE HELL IN DEMOSTRATIONS AGAINST HEALTHCARE REFORM THAT TRULY WILL BENEFIT US ALL IN THE LONG RUN. THAT IS IF WE DON'T VOTE IN SOME IDIOTS WHO ARE WILLING TO SCREW US ALL JUST TO GET BIG BUCKS FROM SOME CROOKED BUSINESS LOBBY.

Posted by: mckeejay74 | April 6, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

At what point in the creation of an unsafe workplace should employers become personally liable for reasonably foreseeable accidents and deaths? While civilization has come a long way from "an eye for an eye" payback, it's apparent that current workplace protections, which sometimes result in fines, are inadequate.

Perhaps the prospect of jail time for negligent homicide would finally motivate employers like Massey to clean up their act.

Posted by: tlmcclimans | April 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is the very subject of John Grisham's book, The Appeal. Massey, and thus, Blankenship, are untouchable unfortunately.

Posted by: dawhoo | April 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Fines mean nothing to men like this. What about charges for criminal negligence leading to the deaths of the miners? Or would Blankenship buy the judge, DA, and jury?

Posted by: Aquarius1 | April 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The campaign finance laws that the recent supreme court threw out were created because of the obvious corruption of large companies that buy state governments wholesale. Study the effect of Anaconda Corp in Montana for example.

If you think this is bad, wait a few years. It is only going to get worse unless congress finds a way to mitigate the worst effects of corporate corruption.
___________________________________________

Congress is the exacerbator of corporate corruption. Congress decides to legislate or not legislate. Corporations do not take cues from polite suggestions, but from legislation. Thus, in what way are corporations the root and cause of the problem?

People once again listen to the politicians extricate themselves from the situation and demonize the private enterprise, all the while believing in every word the politician says. How very unfortunate that people can no longer add 2 and 2.

...and don't take this to be support for Massey, based on my knowledge of this story, he is a corrupt goon with only bottom lines in mind. However, without politicians accomodating his nature, he could have never accomplished such gross negligence or utter greed.

And the same goes for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Enron and all others in question. They pay to play...and that is how American politics works. Believe it or don't...but just like Mr. Sinatra said, "you can't have one without the other."

Posted by: TheFreeMan | April 6, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Someone wrote:
"For all your hand wringing about Massey and it's supposedly evil president, we still await your first condemnation of ACORN."

ACORN no longer exists. The Kelly film has been proven to be doctored anyway, so what is your point?

Posted by: knjincvc | April 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I MUST SAY I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE AMERICANS DO NOT GET VERY, VERY UPSET AND HIT THE STREETS AND SHUT DOWN
THESE CORRUPT BUSINESS MEN BUT ACT ON PROPAGANDA AND RAISE HELL IN DEMOSTRATIONS AGAINST HEALTHCARE REFORM THAT TRULY WILL BENEFIT US ALL IN THE LONG RUN. THAT IS IF WE DON'T VOTE IN SOME IDIOTS WHO ARE WILLING TO SCREW US ALL JUST TO GET BIG BUCKS FROM SOME CROOKED BUSINESS LOBBY.

Posted by: mckeejay74 | April 6, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse
___________________________________________

The point you took is similar to a football bat.

Campaign finance is the single biggest problem in this nation.

And because of people like you who buy into the first thing you hear or read...it will only get worse.

Health reform, gay marriage, 911 trials, global warming, energy independence and blah, blah, blah.

Every single issue presented to the American people by the politicians in DC is a misdirection from the real issues.

Point being...if people work, they have affordable health insurance. If unemployment is really at 20% and there is no chance of it changing in the near term, you force through a health bill which mandates insurance coverage and places unfeasable restrictions on insurance companies. The latter is the reality.

If your cities and states are broke because of tax revenues which are 1/4 of budgets and cannot fund police and fire fighters, you pass education reform bills to persuade people that education standards are the problem causer and not what it really is; a symptom of the greater disease which they will not attempt to correct or even utter softly.

If corporations control government because politicians are all corrupt and beholding of the greenback in lieu of goodwill, the politicians demonize the corporations for betrayal of the American people...yet no real punishment ever befalls these demons. Why? Because there is an unsaid agreement between DC and corporate America; if the corps fund the campaigns, they will be scapegoated from time to time when necessary, but the legislations they coerce will always be more lucrative than the detriment caused by periodic public dissent.

And finally, when GW Bush said John Kerry lied about his combat record in Vietnam, why did Kerry not cite Bush's disciplinary and leave record from the Air National Guard in refute? Because some of what Bush said was true...and Kerry refused to open that door for fear of what was within.

American politics ladies and gentlemen...misdirection, shifting of responsibility and constant subterfuge.

There is always a reason for what they say, how they say and who they say it to...if you can't grasp that concept, you shouldn't formulate opinions on the matter.

By the way, corporations do the same thing, it's called target marketing.

Does anyone really believe that McDonald's chicken nuggets are really all white meat or that their food is healthy? No, but their commercials say so. Get the point?

I didn't think you would.

Posted by: TheFreeMan | April 6, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

What are the two things that are old as the hills and needs to be replaced.
Coal crooks and those who support them.
and Senator Byrd the career politician who would never have made it had there been term limits. Byrd needs to be replaced and should have decades ago. The Senators who have helped create the depression we are now in should have to listen to the American taxpayers as they work for us. These career politicians pick the salary they pay themselves with out of taxpayer money. We the people need to know they are working for us. We need term limits and we need them now because people like Senator Byrd and all the rest rich Senators who suck up taxpayer dollars and lobbyist dollars for selling their votes we gave them the priviledge of casting need not to be so comfy in their lifetime jobs. Two year terms for all of Congress. We need to throw them out in Nov.

Posted by: MaryThresher | April 6, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Something tells me that Don Blakenship is very likely a strong supporter of the T-Party movement! Yes, sir don't take away my freedom to do what I want, when I want to do it and to whom I want to do it to!! What the hell, a few more dead bodies or a few more millions in his pocket...there's no question which he'd choose!

Posted by: dwatson1 | April 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me as if Blankenship should be charged with 25 counts of first degree murder. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the company, its condition, and its workers. Previous citations indicate that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed and was obviously not corrected. This in my mind shows forethought. The miners were put to work in spite of the condition and died. This exceeds criminal negligence, and charges should be filed accordingly.

Posted by: sober1 | April 6, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"over whelmingly disapprove"..you would think a Harvard graduate could do better than quote a poll 12 years old that only used 406 respondants. Not to mention mountaintop removal has nothing to do with this tragedy which was an underground mine, not a surface mine, but please - let's not allow relevance get in the way of hyperbole.

WVians mine coal. The country needs coal.

That being said, Blankenship is one of the worst examples of corproate leadership seen anywhere in the US. His bullying is famous. He needs to be held personally responsible for the failure to correct any serious violation at any Massey mine.

Posted by: scb01269 | April 6, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Considering coal is such a necessary resource for our nation,we need to figure out an effective way to rid the extraction process of negligent corporations. Unionists may not have much sway in the way operations occur, but at least they have the courage to voice their opinions and challenge unfair political power that effects their lives. Corruption is always going to exist within the government with the power of money, but it is the greatest threat when issues such as this are at stake.

Posted by: hromig451 | April 6, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love it when liberals write an article about coal mining. It is always negative and full of half truths. Note the stress on "non Union" "mountain top mining' "and horrible coal .
Students from Harvard need to get out of their rooms and go to area and see what is really happening.
Your enviro is showing..

Posted by: yokohlman | April 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It makes me sad that to save a dollar or two, the employees are always made to suffer. Another example of this happening outside of safety issues, is the outsourcing of the work to another country. This has left so many without work or skills to find different and equitable work. The greed of CEO's and Board members always astonishes me as it usually comes at such high human costs.

Posted by: krissylynny | April 6, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@yokohlman,

And what are these half truths, exactly? Coal is a dirty, dangerous fuel. That's well established. One of the biggest keys to the modernization of our electric industry is a shift away from coal to nuclear energy, natural gas, wind, solar, and geothermal. Mountain top mining is incredibly destructive. And lets be honest, coal workers are probably the best example in the world for why worker interests can't just be trusted to management, and why worker interests should be represented.

Posted by: etdean1 | April 6, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Dylan: "I'm generally skeptical of arguments for campaign finance reform that paint it as a panacea for political wrongdoing."

I think few advocates of public campaign financing say it will be a panacea. They claim only that it will make the system better and will be worth the cost.

Heck, our elected officials in Congress spend over 30% of their time raising money. That's a terrible use of resources and alone should make the argument for freeing them from dependence on private donations.

Posted by: dasimon | April 6, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I looked at the pictures of Blankenship and read about this disaster and his long long list of regulatory violations. I saw how he threatened the ABC photographer with shooting and grabbed the camera. I read that he contributed to the W.Va. Supreme Court Chief Justice's election campaign and read that they vacationed together on the French Rivera, while the W.Va. Supreme Court was considering cases filed against him and his company, Massey. How could any right thinking person not conclude that this small, petty, mean, tyrant was not guilty of corruption? How can people like that be allowed to flourish off the blood and wasted lives of hard working miners?

I don't kid myself. Coal mining is about as bad as it gets and miners expose themselves to risks that most of us would not consider. Of course, it's far from being a fair bargain. Today's miners take work because they expect that working conditions will be as safe as possible under current government standards. Scientifically we know enough about the dangers of mining to ameliorate them. Coal can be produced economically and safely using industry and government standards.

Yet, Mr. Blankenship has accumulated numerous violations and apparently ignored hazardous conditions. By not fixing ventilation systems, he created hazardous working conditions. It would seem to me that at some point such conditions cease to be ordinary workplace hazards which are subject to workman's compensation laws. They are extreme cases of intentional negligence, possibly criminal negligence. Right now, I can't see any reason that this man should not be in jail for 25 cases of manslaughter.

Posted by: Reesh | April 7, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

So "Predictable" Ezra?? Why don't you predict when and where the next catastophe will occur - soothsayer...

Posted by: jahoby | April 7, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The MONSTERS of Our Time:
How many more lives must the United States allow this MONSTER to to KILL?
Forget about West Virginia. This MONSTER is not only corrupt, he is verifiably corruptible. He threatens to KILL public officials, including ABC NEW PERSONALITIES, he buys or attempts buy even Judges . He messes with the LAWS of the USA. This SATAN, no matter how powerful he may imagine himself to be MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.
He detests UNIONS, so that he can continue to KILL WHITE FOLKS in WEST VIRGINIA. He is so GREEDY, he cares nothing about the environment. He treats these professional miners like DIRT.
This MONSTER must be held accountable.

Posted by: olafaux | April 7, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

First: My thoughts and prayers to the families in West Virginia.

Also: Bravo davidbronx - very eloquently stated!!!!
The businesses that violate environmental and safety regulations often feel that paying the fines is a cheaper option than correcting the issues. For a company pulling in millions of dollara a month/year, it's much cheaper to pay a small fine than to spend millions to bring the business up to requirements.
With that said, and as many have already stated - the only way (the ONLY way) this can be avoided in the future is to make the fines HURT the business and they find that violating the laws is no longer cheaper than fixing the problem!!!

Posted by: julie_root | April 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@yokohlman,
I, like many who have posted here, am glad my "enviro" is showing. I proudly wear my "enviro" openly. It's this "enviro" that helps bring things like this to light before a tragedy like this occurs - it's what is done after the "illumination" that needs work.

Posted by: julie_root | April 7, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

It makes me sad that to save a dollar or two, the employees are always made to suffer. Another example of this happening outside of safety issues, is the outsourcing of the work to another country. This has left so many without work or skills to find different and equitable work. The greed of CEO's and Board members always astonishes me as it usually comes at such high human costs.

Posted by: krissylynny
___________________________________________

A great part of the reason that work gets outsourced to other countries from the good ol' U.S. is the fact that our government is among the most draconian and predatory governments in the world with regard to corporate taxes and regulations.

I cannot state that regulations are not needed in many cases, especially such as this one; A very despicable tragedy, for which this company and/or at least it's CEO should be heavily punished. I agree with everyone who has said so.

On the other hand, the Statists in our Federal government constantly agitate government action in asserting controls over industries where said control is not truly needed.

In the case of the auto makers, the CAFE standards are a dubious example of governmental control. Yes, these standards force auto makers to produce more fuel-efficient cars, but they are also much lighter and and therefore susceptible to extreme damage from heavier vehicles and other types of accidents, costing people their lives. Also, logically, the intent of imposing these standards on said companies is countered by its enforcement. There are many people, whom having more fuel-efficient vehicles, who will just drive more often because they can afford to do so. This does not limit CO2 creation on the part of those users.

On the current and future regulation of CO2 by the EPA: The endangerment finding of the EPA and everything that has led up to said finding is a sham. The IPCC is a body of biased politicians who created the 2007 report on climate change that has so greatly affected climate-related regulatory policies in our country. That 2007 report was based heavily on computer models which were touted at the time as accurate, but have shown to be anything but so. Check this out: ( http://www.climatechangefacts.info ) While I wouldn't ask anyone to base their opinions or thoughts on just this site, the author provides logical and factual evidence to support that the threat of "man-made climate change" is far less than the media and our politicians have hyped it to be. Whilst I have your attention: CO2 makes up less than .5% of our atmosphere. It has a lesser effect on the climate than water vapor(H2O), Methane, cloud cover, or the sun.

Posted by: OfConservativeMind | April 8, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Its very troubling that the United States can oppose the World Bank giving out loans for coal-generation plants in South Africa (on an established precedent that refuses the support if coal in other countries) yet we can still let Coal companies invade the political process here.

http://envirogy.wordpress.com/

Posted by: skylerhype | April 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse


It is time for the federal authorities to step in and, one way or another, execute a death sentence on Massey Energy as well as the fortune of the odious Don Blankenship. Even in this day of 'captured' regulators, the behavior of Mr Blakenship and his company's is utterly outrageous.

Posted by: davidjryan | April 8, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

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