After getting hammered by the green blogosphere and environmental organizations for providing financial support for a pro-coal, anti-climate bill rally on a reclaimed flattened West Virginia mountaintop, Verizon Wireless sent a letter to the Center for Biological Diversity dated September 12, clarifying the company's position and justifying their sponsorship.
The purpose of the event, which also featured a 20-minute fear-mongering speech from Fox News' Sean Hannity, was to explain "how environmental extremists and corporate America are trying to destroy your jobs,” according to Don Blankenship, the chief executive of the coal company Massey Energy (see video below).
In the letter to the CBD, Verizon's chief executive Lowell McAdam, said that Verizon’s payment of $1,000 to support the “Friends of America” rally “certainly was not an expression of support for mountaintop removal coal mining or in opposition to climate legislation.”
The money given to event promoters was “a local decision focused on promoting our products at the event,” said McAdam, adding that Verizon “supports the goals of policy makers who are committed to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.”
The message from Massey Energy CEO Blankenship was (relatively) clear, if not long-winded: be very afraid of environmentalists, China, Barack Obama, corporations, and anyone in Washington, DC that would even consider supporting climate legislation.
But the letter from Verizon may be falling on deaf ears. Rob Perks, writing for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that Verizon’s statement was “a few days late and a thousand dollars short.”