Massey Energy President Don Blankenship has been busying tweetingÂ his opposition to the cap-and-trade bill making its way through Congress … a few samples of his wisdom:
Is Cap & Trade â€œenvironmental lawâ€? Anti-American worker? Tax law? Scam? Whatever it is it will not help environment in any manner.
Tom Paine saidâ€“A habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it the superficial appearance of being right. Global Warming is todayâ€™s â€œthingâ€
Cap&Trade is an assault on American workers, supported by the fed govâ€™t.
Fair enough. We know that Blankenship doesn’t believe in global warming, and thinks the climate change bill is the worst thing since … well, since I don’t know what. But it’s also interesting to take a look at how some of Blankenship’s political associates are playing roles in this spontaneous citizen uprising against the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
But it’s not just that some of Blankenship’s old political team are involved in and promoting these events, and otherwise trying to work West Virginians into a tax-hating frenzy over this bill. Some of the folks who are directly organizing and speaking for the groups sponsoring the events have pretty close political ties to the Massey president, too.
There’s Fred Joseph, the retired businessman and political candidate who puts himself out there as spokesman for West Virginians Against Cap and Trade. And then there’s Mike Stuart, who heads the Conservative Foundation, another group drumming up opposition to the bill.
Joseph and Stuart were among the Republican legislative candidates who got Blankenship’s support — and his money — in the Massey president’s miserably failed effort to take over the Statehouse in 2006.
Blankenship maxed out on direct campaign contributions to Joseph, with $2,000.Â And some of Blankenship’s longtime associates donated as well, including Massey officer Baxter Phillips and Ben Hatfield, now with International Coal Group. Counting PAC contributions from coal, the industry accounted for — and this is a generously low estimate based on a quick review — more than one-fifth of Joseph’s campaign money.
Stuart? Well, I only found a single $1,000 contribution from Blankenship. But like Joseph, Stuart was also among the legislative candidates that Blankenship supported through an independent expenditure blitz that did not involve direct contributions to candidate campaign committees (See here and here). And Massey’s PAC chipped in $1,000.Â Stuart received thousands of dollars in contributions from other coal industry folks — including Buck Harless, Andrew Jordon, Roger Nicholson, Bob McLusky and Gary White. And Massey board member Dan Moore held a fundraiser that netted more than $12,000 from folks like Dwayne Francisco, who was president of Aracoma Coal Co. when two miners died in a fatal fire in January 2006.
It’s hard to know if these cap-and-trade protests are having any effect. WSAZ-TV said Rockefeller issued this statement after the event outside his Charleston office earlier this week (See Gazette photo by Larry Pierce, above):
I’m glad to hear from so many West Virginians about this really important issue. I will absolutely fight for the future of coal and jobs in our state. I will not support an energy bill that threatens West Virginiaâ€™s future. Technology can make coal even cleaner, but our nation cannot survive without energy from coal. People in the rest of the country need to know how dependent on West Virginia coal they are.
Before you know it, West Virginia’s entire congressional delegation is going to be jumping out of an airplane …