Don Blankenship – He blows the tops off mountains and pushes the rubble into the valleys

These are the guys I think should lead the list but he is number 12 here. Don’t just take it from me or Tim Dickinson

Don Blankenship: Seventh scariest person in America

Massey Energy CEO is a really bad dude

24 Oct 2006 5:40 PM
by David Roberts

The venerable print magazine Old Trout was recently relaunched with a splashy issue on “The Thirteen Scariest Americans.” I was asked to write up the scariest American from an environmental point of view.

The choice was not difficult. The scariest polluter in the U.S. is Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy. The guy is evil, and I don’t use that word lightly.

The issue is out now. (Look for it on a newsstand near you!) The folks at Old Trout have given me permission to publish an expanded version of the piece after a suitable period of exclusivity. So watch for that at the beginning of December.

In the meantime, check out three things.

First, there’s this longish New York Times piece on Blankenship from Sunday. In the usual style of mainstream reportage, it is studiously neutral in tone, woefully downplaying the environmental destruction Massey does and the thuggish tactics Blankenship has imposed. But you can get a pretty accurate general picture of the guy.

Second, watch this short clip from Bill Moyers‘ PBS special Is God Green? At the end there’s an archival clip of Blankenship from 1984. To me it’s absolutely mesmerizing. I’ve probably watched it 50 times. The sunken, lifeless eyes, the flat affect, the utter lack of empathy … like I said, it bespeaks psychopathy. I’ve shown it to a bunch of other people and they don’t find it quite as chilling as I do, so your mileage may vary:


The Climate Killers

Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming


The Coal Baron
Don Blankenship
CEO, Massey Energy

In an age when most CEOs are canny enough to at least pay lip service to the realities of climate change, Blankenship stands apart as corporate America’s most unabashed denier. Global warming, he insists, is nothing but “a hoax and a Ponzi scheme.” His fortune depends on such lies: Massey Energy, the nation’s fourth-largest coal-mining operation, unearths more than 40 million tons of the fossil fuel each year — often by blowing the tops off of Appalachian mountains.

The country’s highest-paid coal executive, Blankenship is a villain ripped straight from the comic books: a jowly, mustache-sporting, union-busting coal baron who uses his fortune to bend politics to his will. He recently financed a $3.5 million campaign to oust a state Supreme Court justice who frequently ruled against his company, and he hung out on the French Riviera with another judge who was weighing an appeal by Massey. “Don Blankenship would actually be less powerful if he were in elected office,” Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia once observed. “He would be twice as accountable and half as feared.”


Trust me, if he could sell you coal and make you eat it he would.


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