In one of the most bizarre business decisions I have ever seen, Verizon, the cell phone company, is sponsoring a right wing extremist rally this coming weekend. The rally is being organized by coal industry corporations in order to promote the literal destruction of the Appalachians – blowing up Appalachian mountains one at a time in search for coal, and burying mountain streams with the rubble.
In the ultimate act of chutzpah, these corporate executives are hiring country music performers like Hank Williams Jr., in order to give the event the appearance of being put together by regular folks. Do these corporate sponsors look like regular folks to you?
Belo Mine Supply, Inc.
Coalfield Services Inc.
Coal Mining Our Future
Eastern States Mine Supply
Elite Coal Services
FloMin Coal Inc.
International Coal Group
Jones Oil Company
Joy Mining Machinery
Kentucky Coal Association
Limestone Dust Corporation
Massey Energy Company
Monk Mining Supply, Inc.
Petroleum Products, Inc.
Raleigh Mine and Industrial Supply
Rogers Petroleum Services
Southern Coal Corporation
Superior Coal Services, LLC
West Virginia Coal Association
West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association
West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association
These companies are among the worst of the worst. Massey Energy, for example, is beginning to blow up a mountain in West Virginia, blasting dynamite dangerously close to a dam that holds back liquid coal sludge from flooding over a preschool a senior citizens center.
In the announcement of the rally, the organizer promised that people attending would be instructed in how “environmental extremists” are “trying to destroy your jobs”. Sean Hannity will be giving a headline speech at the event. A petition against climate change legislation, written by the lobbyist National Mining Association, will be circulated at the rally. Throughout the event, propaganda in favor of mountaintop removal coal mining, which poisons Appalachian drinking water, will be circulated by corporate public relations professionals. What on Earth did Verizon think it had to gain by supporting this kind of extremism?
In spite of sponsoring this kind of nonsense, Verizon’s own public relations machine still claims that “environmental stewardship is ingrained in Verizon’s heritage, and the company prides itself on having a positive influence on the environment in which it operates.”
If you’re a Verizon customer, and your contract is over, it’s a good time to switch to another wireless company. It’s time to send Verizon a message that they can hear, even if they’re out of cell phone range.