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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Bobby Kennedy Jr. vs. Big Coal: Let's Get It On!


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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
20 January 2010, 10:41 AM
Head to head this Thursday over mountaintop removal mining

The tension has been building since the date was set last November. Ever since it was announced, skeptics clamored, "There's no way this is actually going to take place. Someone is going to back down." But they underestimated the raw emotion and high-voltage electricty surrounding this epic event.

I'm not talking about the next big boxing match, I'm talking about Thursday's (Jan. 21) debate between environmentalist Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Massey Coal Company chief Don Blankenship!

Blankenship will be on his home court as the two meet at the University of Charleston in West Virginia for a 90-minute public debate being broadcast on television stations throughout the state (unfortunately, despite plenty of interest from national media, the debate will be broadcast live only in West Virginia. But yours truly will be there in person, sending live Twitter and post-debate analysis via the unEarthed blog, so stay tuned!).

Kennedy is an accomplished attorney and environmental activist. He is the lead prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and is President of the Riverkeeper Alliance. He's written numerous books, including the New York Times best seller, "Crimes Against Nature." Kennedy was named one of Time Magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his work on environmental issues.

Blankenship is the chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Co., the 4th largest coal company and one of the biggest proponents of mountaintop removal mining. A native West Virginian, he's been an outspoken opponent of community and environmental groups in West Virginia who are fighting to protect their streams and communities from the devastation caused by mountiantop removal mining.

So needless to say, this is going to be an exciting debate! According to news reports, the debate will begin at 6:30 p.m. eastern.

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I think they must really pursue that because it would really get worse if they would continue mining in that place. Ruby @ Cell Phone Tracking

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Sounds like a no-brainer on paper. But this is gonna be a mess. Bobby Kennedy has two big liabilities.

1. He has a terrible speaking voice due to his condition
2. He is opposed to wind power in his own neighborhood. That's not gonna play too well.

Robert Redford should be in the debate. We need some macho environmental spokespeople. Sorry to say, but image counts huge in public appearances.

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