Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why is Verizon Sponsoring a Pro-Polluter Rally?

A group of businesses in West Virginia is sponsoring an event on Monday called the Friends of America Rally. It's not exactly clear why this group of mostly West Virginia-based businesses is sponsoring the rally, but with a little detective work, we can quickly figure out what it's all about.

With Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent headlining the event, you can tell who'll be blamed for any and all of America's problems: Them. Immigrants. Liberals. Gays. Really, anyone who might deflect the role polluters have played in our interconnected economic, energy and climate crises. I can practically hear the screams of dey took er jobs!

Right now, there's only one clear policy ask on the event's website: "If you would like to sign a petition against the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, click here." The event's location reinforces the message. "The Rally is going to be held on a previous surface mine, just south of Logan, West Virginia."

"Surface mine" of course being coal industry jargon for "mountaintop removal." Thanks to Google Maps, you can see how badly the landscape has been scarred in that area:

View Larger Map

I'm not surprised West Virginia businesses would be trying to buy their way into the hearts of the local citizens. After all, these are tough times for polluters. People in places like West Virginia are starting to wake up to the reality that polluters have been stealing their natural resources, destroying their communities, and hurting their health for generations. And for what? A map of poverty in Appalachia matches almost exactly with mountaintop removal sites.

But there's one major outlier on the current list of sponsors: Verizon Wireless. I don't see any other national companies on sponsor list. Why is Verizon, with over 13,000 employees here in Virginia, sponsoring a pro-polluter, global warming denial rally? I'm currently a Verizon Wireless subscriber, but Verizon's sponsorship of this event makes me question whether I want to give another penny to them.

Please take a moment right now to ask Verizon to pull its sponsorship. There's still time for Verizon to do the right thing.

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