Tuesday, November 24, 2009

RFK Jr., Appalachian coal boss to debate Jan. 21

Debates between environmentalists and coal industry advocates are not uncommon, but you will have a hard time finding two more polarizing figures for a debate than the University of Charleston has booked for Jan. 21. Massey Energy Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will debate mountaintop-removal mining, U.S. energy policy, climate change and other topics at UC's Geary Auditorium, Davin White of The Charleston Gazette reports.

Kennedy is the president of Waterkeeper Alliance, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and the son of the late U.S. senator and attorney general. In a recent column in The Washington Post, he referred to mountaintop removal as "the greatest environmental tragedy ever to befall our nation." Blankenship, head of the leading coal company in Central Appalachia, described global warming as "pure make-believe" at a Labor Day pro-coal rally he organized in West Virginia.

UC President Ed Welch told White, Kennedy and Blankenship would each receive 200 tickets to give to whomever they chose. The remaining 400 to 500 tickets will go to UC students, faculty and staff, the school's board of trustees and political officials. (Read more)

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