Verizon Apologizes for Sponsoring Climate-Denier Rally

Verizon has been involved in a controversy since Labor Day over its $1000 sponsorship of the Friends of America rally in West Virginia. Massey coal leader Don Blankenship put on the event, which featured a free concert featuring global warming deniers like Ted Nugent and Sean Hannity, who came together, unbelievably, on a mountaintop mining site to tout the virtues of coal. But now Verizon's CEO is offering an apology to one of the green groups that expressed outrage over the cell company's sponsorship of a pro dirty energy rally. When called out, Verizon Wireless first said they didn't know the event was so political and then didn't back out for fear of alienating the coal crowd. But yesterday the CEO of Verizon Wireless, Lowell McAdam, sent a letter to the Center for Biological Diversity, apologizing for his company's actions.

McAdams said he wanted to "set the record straight," insisting that his company does not support mountaintop removal coal mining, nor does it oppose federal energy and climate legislation. He said that Verizon Wireless "supports the goals of policy makers who are committed to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment."

At the event, country singer Hank Williams, Jr. and rocker and bow hunter Ted Nugent denounced plans to cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and FOX News host and radio personality Sean Hannity whipped up the crowd into a frenzy with an anti-clean energy speech.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines mountaintop removal as follows:

"Mountaintop removal/valley fill is a mining practice where the tops of mountains are removed, exposing the seams of coal. Mountaintop removal can involve removing 500 feet or more of the summit to get at buried seams of coal. The earth from the mountaintop is then dumped in the neighboring valleys."

More on Massey:
What Happens After Coal for West Virginia Mountaintop Miners?
An Alternative to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in West Virginia