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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  Dirty coal money
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Thursday, September 9,2010

Dirty coal money

By Jim Hightower

 

Old King Coal — what a dirty old soul!

 

Not merely dirty in terms of the gross pollution, mountain destruction and mine worker deaths that the Appalachian coal giants are causing, but also in terms of the massive loads of campaign cash that they’re shoveling into America’s elections in a crass effort to get lawmakers who’ll do their bidding in Congress.

In a letter to his corporate colleagues in the industry, a top executive of International Coal Group cited the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate funds to be spent for or against candidates of their choosing. Let’s do it, he said, calling on them to create a huge pool of industry money “to defeat anti-coal incumbents in select races, as well as to elect pro-coal candidates.” By pro-coal, he means Congress critters who’ll oppose tougher regulations that can save workers’ lives and stop environmental destruction.

Among the targeted races is Republican Spike Maynard’s West Virginia effort to oust Democrat Nick Rahall. Maynard is a notorious industry sycophant and a crony of Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, one of the biggest and nastiest of the coal corporations. In 2006, Justice Maynard was caught vacationing on the French Riviera with Blankenship, even as his court was about to consider a $50 million case against Massey Energy involving mine worker deaths. Later, no doubt refreshed by his jaunt to the Riviera with the coal baron, Maynard cast the deciding vote to overrule the $50 million judgment against Massey.

Now that’s the kind of “pro-coal” congressman the industry has in mind! Along with ICG, Massey Energy is behind the push to flood several November elections with industry money. It’s a blatant attempt to install unabashed servants who’ll coddle Old King Coal’s dirty soul.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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