Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

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Outrageous Quotes

Mike Smith's profound insight into ANWR (see below) provided the impetus for this page of our site.  Send suggestions for other quotes to add to this page to paradox@spectrumz.com


October 14, 2009  Walker compares mine protesters to suicide bombers

June 13, 2009  Gene Kitts of International Coal Group, was actually tweeting tonight that the environmentalists were baiting the pro coal audience into the yelling and jeering.

Baiting? Plu-eeze. Mountaintop removal opponents were far outnumbered and didn't even have a chance to speak until an hour into the hearing--and then they could not make their comments heard at this so-called public hearing.


June 9, 2009  From the Charleston Gazette article  Board adds conditions to Fayette mine permit:

"A.M. "Fenway" Pollack, a lawyer for DEP, told board members if his agency did not renew permits for companies with outstanding water pollution violations, no mining permits would ever be renewed."

Thereby suggesting that all companies have outstanding water violations, that they never sufficiently address those violations, and that all mining permits violate laws regarding water pollution on a continuous basis.


April 20, 2009  Pretty much everything Randy Huffman says in the WV Public radio story DEP chief irked by EPA interference is an outrageous quote.  For example:

We are the environmental regulators here in West Virginia," he said. "We are the ones on the front line here. We are the ones responsible for protecting the environment. We have a very rigorous and robust regulatory program that is basically being challenged."  More like a robust permit approval process...


April 2, 2009  From Governor Hopes to Work with EPA, Governor Manchin claims:

"They're (the Obama Administration) trying to figure out what damage is done," Governor Manchin says. "They all agree that we (in West Virginia) do have some of the highest standards to protect the environment in the nation and we are reviewed and scrutinized."


February 14, 2009  From the New York Time's article Case May Alter Judge Elections Across Country, Don Blankenship admits:

"Ive been around West Virginia long enough to know that politicians dont stay bought, particularly ones that are going to be in office for 12 years, he said, referring to the terms of State Supreme Court justices."


November 23, 2008  From Coal CEO calls environmentalists crazy, Don Blankenship rants:

It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends, he said. Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama Bin Laden was critical of us? he asked.

Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy.

Those are the words Blankenship used to describe Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as environmental groups. He said he felt simple terms were the only ones the country could understand, that more sophisticated language was over the head of the general public.

When we talk about it in more articulate ways, the American public doesnt get it, he said.

Actually, Blankenship's entire speech was pretty outrageous.


September 26 2008  From Poll: Most in Ky. back moratorium on building new coal-fired plants:

Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, was traveling and could not review the poll. But he attributed its findings to an uninformed public.

"I don't think the public has been educated on this issue," he said. "The general public is like sheep. They'll be led by small special-interest groups."


January 4, 2008  From Coal Town Gets New Light

"Let's face it: We are going to use coal," says Richard Bajura, director of West Virginia University's National Research Center for Coal and Energy. "I do think coal can be carbon neutral."

Coal--"carbon neutral"?  Does he live on the same planet as we do? 


December 6, 2007  On West Virginia Public TV's Outlook, Roger Lilly of Walker Machinery (supplies huge machines to coal industry) openly admits what the coal industry thinks of Southern West Virginia -- that it should be a national energy sacrifice zone. Lilly says "...my daughter lived in Manhattan in New York. Manhattan is an area of 22 square miles. It has 68 thousand people per square mile. Boone County is 500 square miles. It has 50 people per square mile. We, we have an obligation to the greater good for the people. We export 70 percent of our coal. We have to, we have to provide electricity and power for this country for our urban brothers and sisters. We, we have a great responsibility here in West Virginia, and we cant let that go." Read more of what Lilly has to say here.  Note that in Lilly's mind, coal is the solution to global warming.


December 2, 2007  See Manchin sticks with liquid coal in energy plan.

Some of you folks from states where government isn't so obviously in bed with the coal industry may wonder how our public officials can be so blind to the true costs of coal. Follow the money...Governor Manchin is a coal man (to put it nicely), dependent on the industry for his political standing.

Anyone in his administration had better tow the line...Hence, boys and girls, energy extraction and use and the environment are not connected, no not at all....

From the article:

Gov. Joe Manchin wants to build a series of liquid coal plants across West Virginia, despite citizen concerns about the effects of increased strip mining and the ramifications for global climate change...

Energy Division officials did not respond to - or mention - citizen concerns about the proposal in the latest version of their "West Virginia Energy Opportunities" document.

Jeff Herholdt, director of the Division of Energy, said he didn't believe that a state energy plan was the right place to talk about strip mining regulation or greenhouse gas emissions.

"We're talking about apples and oranges," Herholdt said Friday. "That's a different subject." ...

At public hearings in September and October, citizens turned out to complain about the Manchin plan's focus on increased use of coal. They raised concerns about lax regulation of mountaintop removal and warned that coal-based power created more greenhouse gases than other energy sources.

"We're not pretending those people don't exist," Herholdt said, "but this is not an environmental report. I'm talking about energy resources." ...

In May, an international panel of scientists concluded that carbon-capture technology is still decades away from making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Herholdt said his agency had not reviewed that study or other reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change while drafting the state's energy plan.

"We tried to focus on West Virginia's energy opportunities," he said. "We are a state that has a lot of interest with the coal industry and a lot of our economy is based on coal. It makes sense to play to our strengths."

(It makes sense--only if you are a coal industry minion--to ignore ecological reality and rush headlong into oblivion. When will these people wake up to the fact that there is no coal industry on a dead planet.)


October 25, 2007  From OSM gets an earful on mine rules we learn that MTR is like the Grand Canyon:

John Harden, an electrician at the Hobet 21 mountaintop removal mine in Boone County, said he and his fellow workers are environmentalists who improve water quality with their mining and leave reclaimed sites in good shape and ready for development.

We like to hunt and we like to fish, Harden said.

Harden also recalled seeing the Grand Canyon during a motorcycle tour across country this summer.

I looked at the Grand Canyon and I said, Wow, that looks like my job, Harden said. And its a national historic site.


October 12, 2007  From Boone County mountaintop removal project blocked; Ruling might cost 39 miners their jobs at Castillo

Day, the company official, said environmental groups are to blame for the lost jobs.

"It's a direct result of the actions of OVEC, and they have to be held accountable," he said.

Asked to explain, Day said he thinks environmentalists should have to pay the miners' salaries until they find other jobs.

So, when a coal company lays off workers because of "market conditions" will the company still pay the workers' salaries? And it's OVEC's fault that the Army Corps issues permits illegaly and coal compnaies make flas promises of jobs based on illegal permits?


June 14, 2007  From Mine ponds ruled illegal:

After a judge ruled that the way sediment ponds for mines are built now is violating the Clean Water Act Bill Raney said Its absolutely astounding to me.  Heres a judge outlawing a practice that has been in place for almost four decades.

It's absolutely not astounding to us--we figured it out a while back--the coal industry has been practicing outside the law for over 40 years.


May 15, 2007  From Massey Shares Skid on Water Pollution Suit:

"Massey Energy has been, and continues to be, respectful of the environment in which we operate," said President and CEO Don Blankenship.


February 3, 2007 From Warming puts region's coal in the cross hairs:

Coal industry apologist doesnt apologize for climate change: Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, downplayed the report's conclusions. "Nature's wrath is nothing new," he said of extreme weather.

December 7, 2006  From East Coast's only coal-to-liquid plant to locate in Mingo:

Richard O. Sheppard, senior vice president for project development of Rentech Energy Solutions Inc., a California-based company with offices in Colorado, called the coal-to-liquid plant an exciting opportunity for devastated coal communities.

How, by devastating them some more?


November 2, 2006  From Manchin Wants Energy Independence for State by 2030:

Stephanie Timmermeyer, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection said "Liquefaction is the next step after gasification. To us, one of the easiest answers for being energy independent is for coal liquefaction."

For information on why this is an outrageous quote, please see Coal-to-liquid doesn't make sense for economy, environment


October 20, 2006  From the Gillette, Wyoming News Record Alan Weakly declares coal has rights that apparently override those of citizens and landowners:

There's still coal underneath the land and sometime in the future, that coal has the right to be mined, said Commissioner Alan Weakly, a former mining engineer. What I am saying is there are areas where people will build and in the future they will have to un-build.

What about coal's right to privacy?


October 12, 2006  From Scientists Differ Over Impact of Valley Fills:

Experts for the corps and coal companies said streams on top of valley fills are just as healthy as the original ones were.

"We are improving the habitat," said Ed Kirk, director of the biological division for REI Consultants of Beckley, during Oct. 10 testimony.


August 2, 2006  In his Herald-Dispatch opinion piece Twisted Gun course shows positives of mine reclamation David B. Akers vies for most outrageous coal industry quote of the year, writing "A valley is erosion in its purest form. Valley fills correct that. The water still flows." 

Destroying an ecosystem by blowing up mountain tops and pushing them into a valley corrects erosion????!!!!   As one person who wrote to OVEC said of Mr. Akers' claim, "This statement is so dumb, I can't even begin to address it."


March 12, 2006  Bill Raney's entire LTE in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is an outrageous quote, ending with "Pittsburgh, please call and come take a look at what we're doing. I believe you will like it."  Or not...  Read Janet Keating's rebuttal here.  Also see Do-nothing' session irks Blankenship and Patty Sebok's rebuttal.


December 26, 2005  From The Charleston Gazette, "DEP staying out of wind-power debate."

"Up to now, the environmental damage suffered by this state has taken such forms as past, unregulated mountaintop mining and acid mine drainage," Representative Alan Mollohan said. "This time, the prospect is for destruction of wildlife and scenic views from a proliferation of industrial wind turbines on the state's mountain ridges."

Rep. Mollohan is living in la-la land if he thinks the environmental damage from mountaintop removal and acid mine drainage is past! Mountaintop removal is only regulated on paper; in reality coal companies violate their permits daily as part of business as usual. And has the man heard of the acid mine pools that lurk under much of northern West Virginia? Has he heard of the numerous streams that will have to be treated for acidity in perpetuity?

To learn about acid mine pools, click here and to learn more about acid mine drainage, click here.

December 17, 2005 From WVEC, "Tourists watch as mining firms lop off mountaintops," perhaps not so much outrageous, as stupid and revealing: "To imply that we're flattening Appalachia is so untrue," Kentucky Coal Association president Bill Caylor says. "We're creating level land for Appalachia."


Aug. 21, 2005  As reported by the Charleston Gazettes Paul Nyden, in Masseys Blankenship heats up growing debate to repeal state food tax.

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship spoke to a West Virginia Republican Party gathering in Charleston.  During his speech, Blankenship dismissed reasons often given to explain West Virginias economic problems, including the lack of roads, lack of flat land, coal mine mechanization and peoples laziness.  Do you really think the problems are caused by a lack of flat land? Leave me alone, and Ill give you all the flat land you want, Blankenship said.


August 9, 2005  As reported by WOWK's "Massey Leaves Coal Association Again."

Company chairman and CEO Don Blankenship said his company "will not participate in activities of organizations that do not have the absolute best interest of West Virginia in mind."


July 5, 2005 In this oped printed in the Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky MTR mining engineers J. Steven Gardner claims large draglines are no longer in widespread use, mining does not cause flooding, and mountaintop removal is just "accelerated erosion." Then he accuses Kentucky authors of perpetuating myths.


March 22, 2005  From the Charleston Gazette article Bush, industry seek reversal of mine ruling

In its brief, the Bush administration argued that the corps had properly implemented congressional intent that nationwide permits streamline the approval process for activities that bury streams.

This approach by the corps strikes the best balance between environmental concerns and Congress desire that a more streamlined and generalized permit for categories of activities be made available, and that the wheel, as it were, not be reinvented each time a permit is issued in other words compelling the mining industry to seek individual permits in all instances for valley fills, corps lawyers wrote.

An OVEC reader writes: "Strikes a balance????  Strikes the environment with a hard punch to the gut..."


February 25, 2005  From the Charleston Gazette article Rush Creek mine hearing attracts 150; Residents, miners debate proposed mine

Mount Alpha Road resident Barney Frazier, a Charleston lawyer, gave a polite but emotional speech on behalf of himself and neighbors who oppose the Keystone Industries mine.

Frazier said he and others are worried about blasting, noise and dust from the mine.

Most of all, Frazier said, he is upset that the mine will ruin what he called the "awesome view" from the large deck he and his wife included in their home.

"There is nothing that Keystone could do when they are done mining that is going to put my view and God's mountains back the way they are now," Frazier said.

But another hearing speaker, Keystone employee Mike Yeager, said the operation would actually improve the view for Mount Alpha Road residents.

"Right now, all they're looking at is trees," Yeager said. "When we're done, they can look over and see grass and see animals running. That's a whole lot prettier than trees."


February 12, 2005 From the Charleston Gazette article FOC Field? Friends of Coal mulls purchase of naming rights to new stadium

"We like being part of things where people feel good," (Friends of Coal spokesman Bill) Bissett said.

Then why the hell are the FOCers all about mountaintop removal coal mining. Explosive blasts, ruined ground and surface water, communities driven away, forests razed and streams buried--those make people feel good?


December 8, 2004  From The Associated Press article No. 2 DOI Official Resigns

Steven Griles, the former lobbyist who oversaw the Bush administration's push to open more public land to energy development, said "Under the president's watch, our air is cleaner, our water is purer, our parks are better managed, our wilderness is protected and we're adding wetlands once again for our wildlife.''

Griles must be drinking Bush's Kool Aid...


November 3, 2004  From The Associated Press article Bush Win Drives Coal Stocks Higher

"We think a second term with Bush would limit the risk on the carbon dioxide issue becoming a major concern for coal demand," analyst Jonathan Wolff of Wachovia Securities wrote in a research note Wednesday.

Of course the reality of global warming will have nothing to do with the lowering coal demand!

Massey Energy's spokeslackey said that Bush's Clear Skies Act is a "fair and balanced plan for the future..."!

Right, if the future is for creatures that thrive on Nox, Sox, arsenic and mercury...


September 19, 2004  From The Philadelphia Enquirer article Teflon mystery raises safety questions

DuPont says it has broken no laws and has sharply reduced emissions of PFOA. And studies on plant workers have shown PFOA to be safe, said Don Duncan, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, an industry group.

"It's not as if we've got people dropping in the streets out there," he said.


September 1, 2004  From The Charleston Daily Mail article Governor kicking off Business Summit

"We have sped up the permitting process without detracting from our environmental protection efforts or hurting the economy by keeping coal at a stalemate," Governor Wise said.

What part of total environmental annihilation does Wise not understand?


August 25, 2004  From the Charleston Gazette article Judge asked to clarify valley fill ruling

Roger Calhoun, director of OSM's Charleston field office, said in a letter that the environmental groups had not provided "adequate proof of an imminent danger to the public health and safety or significant, imminent environmental harm by the mere allegation that streams are being filled without a [Clean Water Act] permit."

As if blowing up forested mountaintops and shoving the resulting rubble into valleys, forever burying streams under millions of tons of debris isn't proof of imminent environmental harm!


August 17, 2004  From The Washington Post article Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change

"People have used these sites to build high schools and golf courses -- they see it as an opportunity to stimulate the economy and create jobs," said Gerard, the National Mining Association president. "Some of the sites are so beautifully reclaimed, many people can't tell the difference."

If that is the case, they are blind--or liars. Show us the "many," Jack.


August 9, 2004  From the New York Times article MINES TO MOUNTAINTOPS: Rewriting Coal Policy; Friends in the White House Come to Coal's Aid

James L. Connaughton, the chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, said the changes in the mountaintop mining rules were "all part of the broader effort to sustain coal as a critical part of the nation's energy mix, because it's affordable, it's reliable and it's domestically secure."  Mr. Connaughton said the administration also was committed to improving environmental safeguards.

Coal use is hardly affordable when you factor in future and current global warming, acid rain, poisoned water, razed forests, etc. Mountaintop removal destroys communities. How is that "domestically secure"?


August 3, 2004  From the Reuters article World Bank agrees to continue oil, gas lending

"The proposals of management are built around the central theme that our investments and policy advice in the extractive industries should benefit the poor first and foremost," said World Bank President James Wolfensohn.

Exactly the opposite is true! Halliburton and the likes are companies benefiting from the World Bank's fossil fuel loans. The poor suffer displacement and pollution under most World Bank energy-related schemes. 


July 31, 2004  Purple text below from the Intelligencer article Aide: Bush Committed to Coal

James L. Connaughton and Bob Murray -- a pair you can really count on to ignore pesky little coal-related problems like global warming and miners' rights. "Clean" coal? Hang onto your wallet! And remember, as long as there is mountaintop removal, there is no such thing as "clean" coal! Coal's dirty when you dig it, dirty when you haul it, dirty when you burn it, and dirty when you dispose of the ash. Plus it sure dirties up politics!

President Bush, (James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality) said, begins all his policy discussions from the same perspective: "What do our policies mean to the people and
communities that we serve?"


Read: How do our policies help our fossil fuel funders?

According to Connaughton, the president and his advisors decided
early on that clean air should be a priority because it produces
healthy citizens and healthy communities.

Plu-eeze! The "Clear Skies" Iniaitive is Full of Clear Lies

"Coal is the price anchor, the reliability anchor and the national
security anchor,"
said Connaughton.

National security? Mountaintop removal is destroying communities, streams and forests--what is secure about that? Price anchor? What about the true costs of coal?

Connaughton also claimed the policies of the Clinton administration
had been leading the markets away from coal and toward other energy
sources such as natural gas. "Now we see the disasters that came from
those policies that were implemented," he said, citing price spikes
and high energy costs for individuals on fixed incomes.

Energy crises like California's were due to market manipulation and outright fraud of companies like Enron, whose CEO Kenny Boy Lay is one of Bush's best buds and top campaign donors

"I can tell you that James Connaughton is your friend as you stand
here today
,"  (Robert E.Murray, president and chief executive officer of Murray Energy Corp.) said.   

Yup, Connaughton is surely the friend of the likes of Murray.


July 10, 2004 From the New York Times article Federal Judge Rejects Process for Approval of Mining

Blain Rethmeier, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said Friday that his office was studying the ruling and would have no immediate comment. "Obviously the administration believes in the importance of responsible coal mining to the economy and energy production, but is also committed to complying with all the environmental laws," Mr. Rethmeier said.

The above quote may not appear outrageous on its face, unless you know the truth about the Bush administration and coal. BushCo has a record of trying to gut many of the laws written to protect humans and our life support system (the environment) by regulating the coal industry. For just a few examples, check out Hot Topics, and this EIS story, as well as this issue of Winds of Change


January 15, 2004  From The Charleston Daily Mail article Firm plans Logan County coal-to-diesel plant

John Rich, president of Waste Management and Processors Inc., said "We wouldn't even be having this discussion if the true cost of oil was reflected at the pump."

And if the true costs of coal were applied every time we flip on the light switch, alternative, greener energies would be much more commonplace than they are now.


December 31, 2003  From the San Francisco Chronicle article Inside the mercurial Bush policy on mercury pollution; Nearly 2 years
of work by EPA panel dumped

Jeffrey Holmstead is the EPA's senior air quality official. He led the Bush administration's gutting of mercury regulations. He's a former industry lawyer. He said:

"I was the one who started talking about (the approach) about a year ago. I can assure you that no one on the industry side ever spoke about it."


November 14, 2003  From Bush Administrations Response to Extinction Study

Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson told the Los Angeles Times on November 14, 2003 that the interests of developers should often prevail over endangered species. Nor should the Endangered Species Act be invoked to save species from extinction: "If we are saying that the loss of species in and of itself is inherently bad - I don't think we know enough about how the world works to say that." That same day he told participants at an endangered species conference in Santa Barbara that placing species on the endangered species list was not a priority of the Bush administration and that the administration will not significantly increase the budget for doing so.


October 18, 2003  From the Lexington Herald Leader article Some Blame Seepage From Drilling In Region

Jeff Eshelman, spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents oil and natural gas drillers, said it doesn't make sense that natural gas could find its way horizontally through rock strata into a water well. "Because we drill straight down to reach natural gas, there would seem logically to be no connection between gas wells and water wells," he said. 

Can Eshelman say "fractures"?


August 7, 2003  From a speech by the Republican Senator for Oklahoma to the US Congress, in Washington, James Inhofe: Damn lies and global warming

"Yet anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate natural disasters. "

Only if one's cursory attention is focused on short term profits for big energy.  Anyone who actually pays attention to the actual scientists understands that there is overwhelming agreement that human activities are responsible for global warming and increasingly extreme weather.  Inhofe goes on to say:

"No one has seriously demonstrated scientific proof that increased temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives."

?????!!!!!  "Beneficial"???  


July 15, 2003  From the Charleston Gazette article Massey chief blasts law - also see The Herald-Dispatch article, Coals victims: Just the cost of doing business?

A new state law raising legal weight limits for coal trucks on some roads will not help the coal industry and will not save lives, the president of Massey Energy told lawmakers Tuesday.

Don Blankenship told a legislative interim committee that the law raising legal limits to 120,000 pounds on designated coal haul routes will drive up coal industry costs and will not affect what he called a "no worse than average" rate of fatal accidents involving coal trucks.

"Four to six fatalities a year, with the number of miles coal trucks are traveling on these highways each year, is no worse than average," said Blankenship.


May 7, 2003  From the Charleston Gazette article Chafin proposes 'coal-to-chemicals' tax credits

Look out! State Senate Majority Leader H. Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, and Massey Energy President Don Blankenship have come up with a new idea!

Chafin and Blankenship want Congress to convert the current synfuel tax credit, which Chafin admits is bogus and which is bilking taxpayers for billions a year, into a "coal-to-chemicals tax credit." They want to convert coal into diesel fuel and chemicals.

"This project is a natural for Southern West Virginia coal and a natural for homeland security," Chafin said Tuesday. "Blankenship ran the idea by me, and I began looking at it."

Chafin said Blankenship and Buck Harless, a Mingo County coal and timber owner who is a director of Massey Energy, have good contacts in the Bush administration, including Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

Asked if similar programs had been developed in the past, Chafin said, "Hitler did this. He made gasoline out of coal when they were desperate for gasoline during World War II. But the technology was so bad then. Our technology is so far ahead now and the market is there."

Now we know where Big Coal gets its role models!


April 9, 2003  From the Charleston Gazette article State could be terror target, official says"

Retired Lt. Col. Herb Lattimore of the state Department of Emergency Services said that West Virginia could be at a greater risk of domestic terrorism than of an attack by international terror groups.

West Virginia is a very good target. 

Potential domestic terrorist groups, he said, include religious organizations, racial hate groups and environmental activists.

Think of West Virginia coal mining, strip mining, Lattimore said. Youve got people like my tree-hugger wife who, if I let her, would go out and put nails in all of the trees to keep them from being cut down."

Lattimore said that potential terrorists are everywhere.

I know there are other people running around, he said. You know there are.

We all know of a few fruit loops hes walking around with his aluminum foil over his head to keep the messages out.

Web Lackey's Note:  I don't know anyone, environmentalist or not, who wears aluminum foil on their head.  Mr. Lattimore may be confusing Hollywood fiction with daily reality, a dangerous delusion, especially for someone responsible for public safety.  But Mr. Lattimore may be onto something: perhaps we do need to turn off our TV's and conduct clean elections to "help keep the messages out."


Feb 14, 2003  From the Register Herald article Senator: Coal truck weight bill is a 'must'

(State Senator) Chafin took another verbal jab at the DEP, following up on earlier criticism of new Secretary Stephanie Timmermeyer, whose appointment is still pending in the Senate.

"We're going to take her to task if she doesn't start working with the coal industry." 


Feb 11, 2003  From the Gazette article Bill prevents stricter environmental rules

Under the bill, DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) would be precluded from adopting environmental standards for the mining industry that were more stringent than the federal standards "unless some aspect of the environment is in danger," Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said.

DEP would have six months under the bill in which to examine all existing rules that apply to the mining industry. "It's our bill. It's an industry bill," Hamilton said.

Really Chris? We never would have guessed!


Feb 5, 2003 From The Charleston Daily Mail article Lawyer urges jurors to put coal company under court supervision 

These gems provided by Elk Run's lawyer, Al Emch:

Emch said the media and environmental groups have unfairly portrayed Elk Run's operations as a blight. He said dust is not unusual in coalfield communities and that it has not caused any health problems.

"Was it intolerable or was it just some variation of normal, or close to normal, for a number of small southern West Virginia coal communities?'' Emch asked.

"It's not like they drove one of these big trucks through someone's house. There are no allegations of health damage.''

Also, from Massey coal dust case goes to jury, Emch defies logic by claiming: One persons intolerable nuisance can be another persons welcome, or even embraced, inconvenience. 


Jan 10, 2002  The Gazette article Coal plans massive PR campaign is so full of outrageous quotes it's hard to know where to start!!!  

Charles Ryan, a publicist, one of the new best Friends of Coal gives us several gems:

Coal is a good neighbor socially, environmentally and economically,

The problem is that the critics are small in number, but they have a very big voice. Coal is very large, but it has a very small voice.  [While Coal may indeed have a feeble voice, it speaks through a gargantuan megaphone - that's why environmentalists are using email and  running a few modest websites while Coal's message blares on TV sets and billboards]

Your tentacles are everywhere in this state, Ryan told the operators. They reach into every program in this state.  [He's got this right!]

As a bonus, Friends of Coal's new spokesman, former West Virginia University football coach Don Nehlen, displays his ignorance of the True Costs of Coal:

Lets get some of these doggone regulations eliminated or at least made sound, so guys can mine coal, Nehlen said. I dont exactly know the regulations, but Im smart enough to know that in China, they mine for six bucks a ton, and we have got to be able to compete with them".  [One wonders if the Coach knows that according to "The Coal Miners' Dark Fate," a Jan. 23, 2002 Los Angles Times  article,10,000 coal miners die each year in China?  Or how little they are paid, or to what extent coal devastates China's water and air, not to mention our own water and air.  For reaction to Nehlen's remarks. see: Delegate Blasts Former Coach and listen to the mps mp3 of Caputo's comments]

The Daily Mail article Nehlen praises coal also quotes coach Nehlen:

"For a guy who just learned to spell coal, I didn't do too bad," Nehlen said after his presentation.  [The coach may have learned how to spell "coal" from his Friends of Coal check stub, but where did he get the idea that WV miners have to compete with Chinese coal miners?]


Jan 8, 2003  From the new article Easing of water rules in works in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

OVEC says:  Aquatic biologists know ephemeral and intermittent streams are essential to the well being of all downstream waters and the life they support (including our own!). They study these things.

Paper says-- Isolated wetlands and smaller streams that occasionally go dry would no longer get protection under the 30-year-old Clean Water Act because the administration is planning to change the definition of protected waterways, many activists say. The EPA would not comment.

..the (Kentucky) coal association's (president Bill) Caylor said the only streams that would be affected don't really deserve to be called streams. They are "drainage ditches" that only carry water after a rain, he said.


Dec. 11, 2002  From a story titled "Prayer on the Mountain" in the press edition of The Courier-Journal:

No one from the coal industry spoke at the service. In a telephone interview, Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said he resented people bringing religion in the debate on mountaintop removal. "I disagree when people try to justify their actions with quotes from the Bible," Caylor said. "Let's not bring religion into this." Caylor said he could justify mountaintop removal by quoting a Bible passage that reads, "every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low." 


Oct. 21, 2002  From the story "Coal haulers say numbers prove their case" in the Charleston Daily Mail:

"The impact of an 80,000 pound vehicle is not any less lethal than a truck that weighs 120,000 pounds," Dingess said. "Trust me, you won't feel a difference when it hits you."


Sept. 27, 2002  From the story "Coal ash sparks pollution worries" in the Lexington Herald-Leader :

"There are some very legitimate concerns in certain situations, but generally there should not be concern for heavy metals (washing) out of coal ash," said Bill Caylor, executive director of the Kentucky Coal Association. "This public fear of heavy metals is blown out of proportion." 


Sept. 25, 2002  From the story "Wise promotes production of coalbed methane; Method produces large amounts of heavily polluted water" in the Charleston Gazette.

Bob Wise on coalbed methane: "We have a permitting process that I think you will find extremely cooperative. We have re-written the book on being cooperative about permitting" 


Sept. 5, 2002  From the story "State cleans up large tire dump" in The Times Record.

Speaking of illegal open dumps, WV Department of Environmental Projection chief Michael Callaghan said, "They are not only an eyesore, they are a nuisance and a danger. The DEP is determined to get rid of these sites that ruin the natural beauty of our state."

What's outrageous about that? This is the man who let mountaintop removal ruin the natural beauty of our state on a scale that utterly dwarfs the illegal open dump problem.


August 31, 2002  From an AP story in the Courier Journal.

Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said the problem isn't that mining operations are moving closer to residential areas but that residential areas are moving closer to mining operations:

''It's true that 30 years ago a lot of mining was done in truly isolated areas,'' Caylor said. ''We're still mining in isolated areas, but now they're inhabited.''


July 12, 2002  From the story "Opponents of weight increase gather for press conference" in the Daily Telegraph:

Bill Raney, president, said Thursday, "It is important to recognize that this bill is a compromise. Certain modern coal haulage trucks are rated to safely carry 139,000 pounds. That's what we have repeatedly said we would like to have as a maximum."

OVEC says: Compromise? Nearly twice the current weight limit? Citizens want the current weight laws enforced. If this is a compromise, it's a compromise between the coal industry and the coal industry.


July 12, 2002  From the story "Tougher mining-pollution fines urged: Senator says company didn't pay enough for Martin coal-slurry spill" in The Courier Journal:

Carol Raulston, spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, said there needs to be a balance between fines and whatever incentives are needed to encourage people to do the right thing. 


July 10, 2002  From the story "Report says state has itself to blame for overweight trucks; Panel recommends coal truck weight limit be raised " in the Charleston Daily Mail :

The state has allowed coal operators to become accustomed to shipping coal in illegal loads by its lax enforcement of state weight laws, so the Legislature should increase the weight limit, the Governor's Truck Safety Work Group argues in its final report.


June 19, 2002 From The Washington Times article, EPA says toxic sludge is good for fish:

The Army Corps of Engineers' dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River protects fish by forcing them to flee the polluted area and escape fishermen, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document.

The document says it is not a "ridiculous possibility" that a discharge "actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying."


May 9, 2002:  Speaking of Judge Haden's ruling that Corps of Engineers was illegally violating the Clean Water Act, Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association called the ruling "judge-made law."  OVEC guesses that Mr. Raney is ok with coal-industry-written laws....


May 6, 2002:  From the Charleston Gazette story, Easy permits proposed for mountaintop removal mining:

In the last six months, Bush administration officials have sought to change the course of an ongoing study of mountaintop removal.

Bush appointees in the Interior Department want the project to focus on "centralizing and streamlining coal mine permitting," records show.

and

National Mining Association President Jack Gerard said that the change would "simply codify permitting policies as they have existed for over 25 years and, hopefully, avoid further disruptive and unnecessary litigation." (Translation: Coal industry uses clout to change law it has been breaking for decades.) 

and

Greg Peck, EPA deputy director for wetlands regulation: "I don't look at it as a matter of good or bad. This is the way the program has operated for as long as I can remember." (Translation: Agency looks the other way while coal companies illegally obliterate ecosystems.) 

and

EPA chief Christine Whitman said in a statement that the fill rule change is part of the administration's plan to "reduce mining-related impacts, while providing the nation with the advantages of cleaner-burning coal. Mountaintop mining is a long-established practice in Appalachia, and this administration is committed to working with the affected states to strengthen the environmental safeguards governing this practice. We are working to establish a regulatory environment that is clear, predictable, fair and fosters good environmental stewardship." (Did her eye twitch while she spouted this tripe?)


April 30, 2002:  In an WV Public Radio Story by Dan Heyman, which aired on NPR Morning Edition, Bill Raney claims that valley fills can improve water quality in streams!!!

"There's just a great preservation of the quality of water. In some cases the water quality comes back to be more consistent and more reliable, and even better than it was before we mined."

Hear the full story by clicking the audio icon (real audio).


April 26, 2002: On the rule change proposed by Bush, Inc., Environmental Protection Agency Chief Christine Whitman said:

"It is not a giveaway to the mining industry. It does not allow activity that isn't already under way."

See the full story in the NY Times.


April 21, 2002: Executives and lobbyists for the nation's energy industry have long argued that the Clinton administration had granted environmental groups far greater access when formulating energy policies. Now, they say, the pendulum has swung the other way, with the Bush administration developing a more balanced position that emphasizes increasing the output of oil, coal and power.

"The people running the United States government are from the energy industry," said Fredrick D. Palmer, executive vice president of external affairs for Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal company. "They understand it and they believe in energy supply." 

See the full story in the NY Times.


April 18, 2002:  The ANWR drilling amendment was defeated in the senate today.  Alaskan Senator Frank Murkowski seemed to have the players confused when explained the bill's defeat by saying:

"What's going on here is simply the word greed.  The so called environmentalists are not interested in science, they're not interested in the health of this planet, they're not interested in the welfare of the people of my state.  They're interested in only one thing and that's fundraising and keeping their high paid jobs."

Real Audio - NPR Click the audio icon to listen to this quote (Real Audio archive of NPR coverage - the quote is about 2:20 minutes into the story)  


April 14, 2002:  Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, says mountaintop removal mining is a carefully engineered process that sometimes improves the quality of valley streams while it is making jagged mountaintops accessible. 

"It's not scorched earth and it's not devastation," said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Assn. "It's a methodical engineering process."

"I'm not going to try to dress it up and try to make it sound like it's better when we get through, but we make every attempt to prevent any kind of negative impact," he said. 

He said coarse rock is laid in the valleys before fill material, "just the same as you get out of your yard when you dig a hole to plant a tree," is dumped on top of it. The rock allows streams to continue flowing under the tons of "valley fill." 


March 12, 2002:  "It's not a bad thing to enforce the law, but it will definitely devastate this industry in West Virginia,'' said Carl Hazelett, surface mine manager for Pen Coal Corp. in Dunlow.  From Charleston Daily Mail


January 31, 2002: Excerpted from Charleston Gazette
Fossil fuels official gives oil, gas support 
by Kelly Regan

Mike Smith, the newly named assistant secretary for fossil fuels at the U.S. Department of Energy, told a Charleston audience Wednesday that he would work to ensure that oil, natural gas and coal industry's interests are heeded in Washington.

"The biggest challenge is going to be how to best utilize taxpayer dollars to the benefit of industry, in my opinion," Smith said.

He said he doesn't understand environmentalists concerns about the Artic national Wildlife Refuge.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Web site...(ANWR) is one of the most complete and undisturbed eco-systems on earth...

"It's simply a non-issue with me," Smith said. "It looks like a desert covered in snow."

The (fossil fuel) energy industry needs support more now than ever, Smith said.

 

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