Energy Bill Blasted At W. Va. Rally
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
An industry organization representing oil and gas companies has been organizing rallies around the country to oppose an energy bill in Congress. And yesterday, the coal industry joined the campaign.
Reporter Jessica Lilly of West Virginia Public Broadcasting was at one event.
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. HANK WILLIAMS, Jr. (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) …out in the rain.
JESSICA LILLY: On Labor Day, thousands of coalminers, their families and supporters trekked to a reclaimed mountaintop removal site in southern West Virginia. They heard Fox News host Sean Hannity, rocker Ted Nugent, and country star Hank Williams, Jr.
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. WILLIAMS: (Singing) I got me red, white and blue.
LILLY: Volunteers encourage them to sign a petition against the cap and trade bill, which would regulate the amount of greenhouse gases industries may release. Massey Energy is one of the largest coal producers in the nation. CEO Don Blankenship told the crowd he spent one million dollars on the event. He questioned the reality of climate change and attacked former Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. DON BLANKENSHIP (CEO, Massey Energy): In Washington, though, they sometimes say that those of us in Appalachia need help because we're not very smart. Well, we're smart enough to know that only God can change the Earth's temperature, not Al Gore.
(Soundbite of cheering)
LILLY: A recent poll shows more than half of West Virginia voters are against cap and trade legislation, even though two-thirds believe climate change is a serious concern. West Virginia's two Democratic Senators, Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, haven't said how they plan to vote on the cap and trade bill.
For NPR News, I'm Jessica Lilly in Charleston, West Virginia.
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