Massey Energy CEO Blankenship's anti-environment screed caught on tape

Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE), the fourth largest coal producer in the United States thinks Gore, Pelosi, Reid and environmentalists are crazy, atheist, communist Greeniacs who lie about climate change and other environmental issues.

Blankenship seems to either be a very confrontational sort of person or to have completely jumped the shark by the looks of this video footage that NRDC released today.

Blankenship’s speech is quite disheartening because it shows very clearly the massive divide that continues to exist between environmental groups and people who care about environmental issues and the very companies that we need to convince to do something about these issues.

Below are video excerpts of the speech Blankenship made in West Virginia on November 20, 2008.

“I don’t believe climate change is real.”

Blankenship: “I don’t believe climate change is real, I do believe that the Arctic is melting and the Antarctic is getting colder. I believe it’s a normal cycle. This is the first speech I’ve given at the Tug Valley Institute in November and it’s snowing outside. So it’s not my greatest concern.”

Blankenship’s disbelief in the realities of climate change sure doesn’t make sense when his company is touting its green credentials in its 2008 corporate social responsibility report by “Recognizing the increased focus on carbon dioxide and climate change, we [Massey] are taking steps to address emissions issues. operations and facilities in the United States and abroad, as well as significant resources allocated to research….” One word for this: marketing bafflegab. Another fitting term would be greenwashing.

Lies and more lies about global warming

Senators Reid and Pelosi and Al Gore are Crazy Greeniacs

Blankenship: “Let me be clear about it Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re totally wrong. What they do is nonsense… pretty simple, they’re all crazy.”

“The Greeniacs are taking over the world”

Blankenship: “Why doesn’t somebody say something. The greeniacs are taking over the world. In Europe today you have green poverty and they’re already going the other way. They’ve already learned that trying to sequester carbon and shut down the coal power plants is not going to work.”

Our opponents are Communists and Atheists

So you tell me: How can we convince a Blankenship that his company has to deal with things like carbon, mercury and nitrogen oxide emissions when he thinks climate change is a lie and people who care about the environment are crazy “Greeniacs”?

Most likely the answer is that we don’t even try to convince the likes of Blankenship and instead we focus on convincing our politicians to put in place the environmental protection regulations that will force the necessary measures. Of course, this only leads to the widening of the gap and fuelling of the division between environmental and business concern even further and with neither side ever satisfied with the terms of the cease fire agreement.

Check out the Wonk Room at ThinkProgress for their take on Blankenship’s comments.


The car manufacturers don’t go out and give speeches about how the evil environmentalists ruined everyone’s life forever by lobbying for regulation on smog.  They lost, they installed the technology, and the debate moved on. 

This clown is starting to realize its over for carbon but he still thinks they can stop controls.  The very heated rhetoric is on both sides though. 

Hansen is saying he expects to testify at the trials of CEOs of some coal companies when civilization puts them on trial for crimes against humanity.  That’s as great a divide as can exist in a political debate.   Its too bad Blankenship’s determined to carry on at this late date with the tactics the coal industry has employed for the last twenty years, but why should we expect him to do otherwise?  Its a war on science, and against civilization. His industry started it.

You’ve got a campaign going against his industry that goes beyond sticking a pin into his PR campaign of talking up “clean coal” as the entire worldwide industry doesn’t bother to even build one full scale plant, as you deny the very existence of the technology itself.  I believe your campaign implies or claims they couldn’t build a full scale plant even if they wanted to as there is no technology they can use, that’s how far they will go with their lies.  So what, say you if the IPCC, MIT, all the world’s Academies of Sciences and many others stamp their names on gilt edged reports saying its time for them to build the full scale plants, as opposed to let’s see if this technology can be brought out of the lab to pilot stage.  So Blankenship can call you crazy, some wild Greeniac or whatever, and there is a grain of truth to it that shouldn’t be there.

This is why I believe it is a mistake to make exaggerated claims such as carbon capture doesn’t exist, because when people a bit further away from the issue take a look at both sides, they’ll see bias and overblown rhetoric, and stretching or making up “facts” on both sides. 

The tide is turning in the US.  It isn’t going to be Gore, Pelosi, Reid, and environmentalists this guy will have to deal with.  Its Obama, standing behind Browner, with Chu at her side, and these are just the ones I’ve studied enough to believe a great darkness is lifting. The Democratic Party has the House, the White House, and there’s still a remote chance they’ll get 60 seats in the Senate.


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It’s perfectly clear that the the coal industry believes that ‘clean coal’, is a wedge1 argument, suited only to justify new coal fired power stations. If the coal industry genuinely believed in ‘Clean Coal’, they would be building those plants now. However, their reticence about building ‘clean coal’ plants, is proof positive that what they don’t want are irrefutable facts.

The fact is that the coal industry wants to build new coal plants with clean coal as a never going to be built upgrade, but believe that once the running costs and workability of ‘Clean Coal’ become obvious, both ‘Clean Coal’ and coal itself will be dead.

‘Clean Coal’ if ever built, will surely reveal renewables and energy efficiency as cheap indeed.


1 Just as ‘Intelligent Design’ was used as a wedge argument to introduce religion into US schools


Ken Miller on Intelligent Design