Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 191 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

Why Does Verizon Support Destruction of the Appalachians?

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-Mac
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
Verizon Wireless
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.

verizon smokestack

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.

21 comments to Why Does Verizon Support Destruction of the Appalachians?

  • le pelerin

    Nothing wrong with blowing up mountains. It’s ugly like a construction site but with some grass and trees and a little time, the place will be worth visiting.

  • Anonymous

    Worth visiting. What about the people who live there? What about the heavy metals in their drinking water? What about the communities living underneath the threat of crumbling coal sludge dams?

    You can go visit… and then get the hell out of there. Not everyone is so lucky.

  • le pelerin

    I visited a 10000 acre strip mine that has been “reclaimed”. It is worth visiting. I live in coal strip mining country, so I know a little about what can be done to create wonderful spaces, with a little ingenuity. Check it out:http://www.thewilds.org/about/

    • Jim

      The Wilds is a special public-relations showcase in Southeastern Ohio set up with land grants from a subsidiary of American Electric Power. The attention given to that land is not typical of strip-mine sites.

      When you visited, did you test the soil for heavy metals? Did you research the history of the health of down-hill streams from that site during strip mining? Do you know what the rate of toxicity is at sites strip-mined by American Electric Power and its subsidiaries? Do you have statistics about changes to the health of nearby aquifers? Those are the questions I’d want to see answered to really evaluate an area like the Wilds … not whether it’s pretty and has African animals stocked on it.

      The Wilds itself describes the ecological status of its land as uncertain:

      “…forests were destroyed to accommodate agriculture, and agricultural areas were subsequently destroyed by extensive surface-mining for coal. While subsequent efforts at reclamation were largely successful at restoring ground cover, controlling erosion, and providing areas for recreational activity, questions remain as to the biological functionality of these areas. What appears to be ‘green and lush’ to the casual observer, may instead be an area of decreased biological diversity, with assortments of invasive species, and may not be returning to a functional ecosystem.”

  • Great. Worth VISITING. The grassy fields they plant on top of garbage landfills also look pretty from a distance too. You going to go live on one, and get a well for water drilled down to drink from?

    You aren’t addressing the concerns about water pollution and the communities that live under the coal sludge dams, LP. Why?

    You also aren’t addressing Verizon’s involvement in other rabidly anti-environmental activities at this rally, serving as a cover for the activities of pro-mining lobbying organizations.

    • le pelerin

      I can only speak about what I know. I’m not saying you don’t have some valid concerns. I don’t think the list of companies you cited are evil either. They’re run by people wanting to make a profit so they’re likely to want to cut corners. Water issues and sludge are not a reason not to mine. People are smart and can overcome obsticles, especially if there is a financial reward. It just has to be done right.

      • So, why is Verizon giving financial rewards to companies with an interest in promoting the destruction of the Appalachians?

        How do people overcome the obstacles presented by toxic heavy metals in their drinking water? How do preschoolers overcome the obstacle of coal sludge flooding over their school building when the dam bursts as the result of dynamite explosions?

        • le pelerin

          Are you saying our land is more polluted now then it was 100 years ago? I think not. Horse manure from roads used to end up in the water supply. We overcame that problem in this country, some countries still have to work that out. Toxic metals and sludge need to be handled in the same way.

          “destruction of the Appalachians” I don’t think that is usually the case. People have not usually been fairly treated by big companies, taking advantage of them, but Appalacia is not being destroyed, just mined.

          • Wow. I think that is the ultimate in denial. The Appalachian mountains are being blown up and flattened, with the Appalachian streams filled up with toxic debris so thickly that the streams don’t even exist any more. Yet, you say that the Appalachians are not being destroyed.

            That’s like saying that fire doesn’t destroy a piece of paper, but just converts it into ash.

  • ReMarker

    Extras – Commentary: Mountaintop Removal Sites – “Strip Mining on Steroids” Link: http://www.llrx.com/extras/mountaintopremoval.htm

    Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 explained. Link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_Mining_Control_and_Reclamation_Act_of_1977

  • Tom

    In a snarky answer to Green Man’s questions:

    We turn a blind eye and a deaf ear toward any environmental problems here on Earth. Yeah, the whole world is ours to pollute as much as we want and we don’t worry about the consequences. God says it’s okay, so relax, it’s all good . . .

    (until it’s not)

  • ReMarker

    “Strip Mining on Steriods” by Beth Wellington link: http://www.llrx.com/extras/mountaintopremoval.htm

  • ReMarker

    This is a test post. I have unsuccessfully tried to post a link to a comprehensive strip mining law article (3 times) and my post doesn’t post. I have begun to wonder if my ip was baned. So..this is a test post.

  • Selt

    “right wing extremist rally”

    Do you even know what you were talking about or did you just put that in there are a classist jab?

    Many people being “victimiized” by this type of mining (dangerously polluted drinking water for example) would socially fit under what is considered to be right-wing. So you show “concern” for the people in this area of Appalachia yet insult them in the same article.

    You are in a good place to be against this but, unfortunately, it seems it’s not about the people. You’re about the left versus right mixed with anti-corporatism. Drop the left versus right garbage and make it about the people regardless of whether or not you like how they vote.

    • ReMarker

      “Classist”? The left and right are different classes? Nevermind.

      How can seperating people from their left wing or right wing politics, help the process when “right wing” people support the right wing GOP that values the wealth of the few over the health of the many? Is it that as long as someone SAYS they are pro-life and anti-gay that is enough to ignore the socially damaging things the right wing GOP does?

      I empathize with anyone that is being victimized, even if they are misguided enough to support the people that perpetrate the victimizing. The GOP has good snake oil salespeople. Someone has to let the victims know.

    • Yeah, well that would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that all the politicians who support this destruction are right wing.

  • Great piece, Green Man. Thanks, ReMarker for linking to my MTR article at LLRX. If folks are interested, I also wrote on the Verizon rally here:
    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/2009/09/can-you-hear-us-yet.html

  • jerry

    are you serious with this website or is this a joke?

Leave a Reply