Monday, January 11, 2010

A Coal Exchange

Here's a recent exchange between Tom Burger and Don Blankenship in the West Virginia Gazette. Both submitted letters to the editor concerning West Virginia's controversial production of coal.

Background info...

Tom Burger is a retired West Virginia resident.

Don Blankenship is the Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy (the United State's 4th largest coal company).

First, here's Tom's October 29, 2009 letter to the editor:

Blankenship acts in self-interest


Don Blankenship loves to downplay the seriousness of global climate change. Why not? It's in his financial interest to do so. In his latest diatribe, he quotes what seem to be facts from reputable sources. One set of which was from Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union. I couldn't find his reference that Antarctic ice is increasing, but I did find the AGU position statement on global climate: "The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system - including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons - are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century." Beware when those with money to be made quote "facts."

Tom Burger


And here's Don Blankenship's January 10, 2010 reply:


Tom Burger says the public should beware of my comments regarding global warming because I stand to make money based on my positions.

Let's look at who will make money if cap-and-trade climate legislation passes: Al Gore, most multi-national corporations (that claim to be American and aren't), government-funded scientists and university researchers studying global warming and most countries of the world (except the U.S).

This does not appear to concern Mr. Burger. He is concerned only about my motivation. Well, I can assure Mr. Burger that my views on climate change are not driven by personal concerns. I'll be OK if climate change legislation passes, but I am worried about who gets hurt: coal miners, all West Virginians, all Americans and our children and grandchildren. There is no doubt about that.

The debate should be driven by facts. For instance, the world is cooling and has been for 10 years. If you eliminate all U.S. coal production and use, the Chinese will replace it 100 percent and take the related jobs in just a few years. That cap-and-trade bill will force American industries out of America and the jobs will go along with them. Home power bills will go up. In fact, Mike Morris, President of American Electric Power, said on Fox recently that power bills would double if the climate-change bill being considered is passed into law. Cap-and-trade, which we are told will decrease CO2 "and save the planet," will greatly increase, not decrease CO2 emissions. You see, more carbon is emitted per job added in China than is reduced per job lost in the United States.

I'm for Americans and coal miners. They need more help than Al Gore or I do. As for Tom Burger, I don't know him.

Don Blankenship

Chairman and CEO

Massey Energy


Props to the retired dude. Your voice was heard by precisely the right person.

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