Is Your Cell Phone Co. Sponsoring a Climate Change Denying, Union Busting, Pro-Mountaintop Removal Rally?

If you're one of Verizon's 87 million customers, the answer is yes.

Do 87 million Verizon Wireless customers know that the company is a co-sponsor of a major climate-change-denying, union-busting, pro-mountaintop removal Labor Day rally staged by Massey Energy in Logan, West Virginia?

I didn't until reading a post by writer and activist Jeff Biggers at Huffington Post -- and I'm one of those millions of customers! On its Green Press kit site, Verizon crows that "environmental stewardship is ingrained in Verizon's heritage, and the company prides itself on having a positive influence on the environment in which it operates." The site provides links to solar energy resources and generally touts its green street cred.

Massey Energy, the largest producer of Central Appalachian coal, holds out no pretense of pro-environmental sympathies. In a 2008 landmark settlement which it fought tooth-and-nail, Massey agreed to pay $20 million in fines to the EPA to resolve more than 4,500 violations of the Clean Water Act for polluting waterways in West Virginia and Kentucky with coal slurry and wastewater.

One of the country's foremost practitioners of mountaintop removal, a radical form of coal mining in which entire mountains are blown up, devastating hundreds of square miles of Appalachia and polluting the headwaters of rivers, the company has fiercely lobbied against Obama administration and EPA efforts to crack down on the practice.

These anti-environmental sensibilities will be well represented at the company's Labor Day "Friends of America" celebrations next weekend. The gala's featured speaker, Lord Christopher Monckton, a science adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is one of the world's most infamous global warming-deniers. Other "distinguished" speakers include Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent.

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