Coal Tattoo


Gazette photo by Chip Ellis

Well, Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship didn’t make The Huffington Post’s list of Most Dangerous Global Warming Deniers. But he has  made a new Rolling Stone magazine list called “Climate Killers.” It purports to be a collection of “The 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming.”

Here’s what they said about Blankenship:

In an age when most CEOs are canny enough to at least pay lip service to the realities of climate change, Blankenship stands apart as corporate America’s most unabashed denier. Global warming, he insists, is nothing but “a hoax and a Ponzi scheme.” His fortune depends on such lies: Massey Energy, the nation’s fourth-largest coal-mining operation, unearths more than 40 million tons of the fossil fuel each year — often by blowing the tops off of Appalachian mountains.

The country’s highest-paid coal executive, Blankenship is a villain ripped straight from the comic books: a jowly, mustache-sporting, union-busting coal baron who uses his fortune to bend politics to his will. He recently financed a $3.5 million campaign to oust a state Supreme Court justice who frequently ruled against his company, and he hung out on the French Riviera with another judge who was weighing an appeal by Massey. “Don Blankenship would actually be less powerful if he were in elected office,” Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia once observed. “He would be twice as accountable and half as feared.”

On the national level, Blankenship enjoys a position of influence on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has led the fight to kill climate legislation. He enjoys inveighing against the “greeniacs” — including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Al Gore — who are “taking over the world.” And he has even taken to tweeting about climate change: “We must demand that more coal be burned to save the Earth from global cooling.”

In more unguarded moments, however, Blankenship confesses that his over-the-top rhetoric is strategic. “If it weren’t for guys like me,” he says, “the middle would be further to the left.” He also admits that his efforts to block climate legislation are ultimately self-serving: “It would probably cut our business in half.”

rolling-stone-climate-killers.jpgUnfortunately, Rolling Stone decided to headline the cover of this issue with the line, “You idiots.” Coal Tattoo readers know that we don’t allow name-calling here, and it’s too bad Rolling Stone didn’t go by the same rule.

It’s fascinating that the Daily Mail’s Don Surber decided to go after Rolling Stone for “name-calling,” given  that Surber and the DM regularly call people they disagree with “radicals” and “zealots” and frequently allow  contributors to dismiss coalfield residents and environmentalists they don’t like “extremists,” rather than provide some reasonable arguments for why they disagree with them.

Just a few months ago, Surber went so far in describing the science of global warming as a crazy religion that he compared former Vice President Al Gore (Subscription required) to the Rev. Jim Jones, who convinced 900 of his followers to commit mass suicide:

Now some politicians say coal is making us sick. Somehow the carbon dioxide that makes possible the photosynthesis that the life on earth requires is evil and must be deleted.

Otherwise, we will all burn in a hell on earth.


That’s what global warming amounts to. It’s an apocalyptic religion that preaches that the only salvation of man is to relinquish his material items, or at least substitute them for smaller items.

A dropout of Yale Divinity School, Al Gore, leads the way. He’s the 21st century version of the Rev. Jim Jones.

Even more incredibly, Surber criticized Rolling Stone for not presenting “a coherent argument for whatever point” it was trying to make with its list.

Since when did Surber think that  journalism required a “coherent argument” or something like, well, facts? We’re still waiting for Don to respond to my debunking of his most recent effort at tackling climate science (well, except to complain about the photo I used with that post).