For Immediate Release, September 1, 2009
Contact: Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681
Verizon Wireless Faces Boycott for Supporting Mountaintop Removal
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity plans to boycott Verizon Wireless if the corporation does not withdraw its sponsorship of a Labor Day rally supporting mountaintop coal mining and opposing climate change legislation.
Verizon is cosponsoring the Friends of America rally, which is being organized by Massey Energy Company to support mountaintop removal coal mining and to oppose climate change legislation. The rally features conservative pundit Sean Hannity and climate-change denier Lord Christopher Monckton. Tickets for the rally and concert are free, but guests must register online, next to a link for a petition opposing the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, at http://friendsofamericarally.com/.
On August 30, 2009 the Center notified Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam that it intended to organize a boycott if Verizon did not withdraw sponsorship of the event. In just one day, 14,500 letters were sent to Verizon pressuring the company to retract its sponsorship of the rally.
“Verizon Wireless can’t claim to be “going green” and then join forces with one of the dirtiest companies in the world,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Verizon can’t keep its hands green and sponsor an event that supports the destruction of Appalachia and the extinction of a third of the earth’s species due to climate change.”
Massey is the fourth largest coal producer in the United States and has been cited for more than 4,500 Clean Water Act violations in West Virginia and Kentucky. The rally Web site features a video of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship accusing “environmental extremists” of trying to destroy jobs by opposing mountaintop removal coal mining. The rally is being held at the same time as the United Mine Workers of America Labor Day celebration, forcing workers to choose between the Union event and the company event.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of U.S. and global greenhouse gas emissions. Mountaintop removal is an extreme form of coal mining in which the top third of mountains are blasted off to expose coal seams and then the waste is pushed into valleys. Since mountaintop removal coal mining began in 1970, 1.5 million acres of hardwood forest have been lost, more than 470 mountaintops have been permanently destroyed, and 1,200 miles of streams have been buried.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 225,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.