For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Verizon Wireless Faces Boycott for Supporting Mountaintop Removal

FLAGSTAFF. Arizona - The Center for Biological Diversity plans to boycott Verizon
Wireless if the corporation does not withdraw its sponsorship of a
Labor Day rally supporting mountaintop coal mining and opposing climate
change legislation. 

Verizon is cosponsoring the
Friends of America rally, which is being organized by Massey Energy
Company to support mountaintop removal coal mining and to oppose
climate change legislation. The rally features conservative pundit Sean
Hannity and climate-change denier Lord Christopher Monckton. Tickets
for the rally and concert are free, but guests must register online,
next to a link for a petition opposing the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill,

On August 30, 2009 the Center notified Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam that
it intended to organize a boycott if Verizon did not withdraw
sponsorship of the event. In just one day, 14,500 letters were sent to
Verizon pressuring the company to retract its sponsorship of the rally.

“Verizon Wireless can’t claim to be “going green”
and then join forces with one of the dirtiest companies in the world,”
said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center for Biological
Diversity. “Verizon can’t keep its hands green and sponsor an event
that supports the destruction of Appalachia and the extinction of a
third of the earth’s species due to climate change.”

Massey is the fourth largest coal producer in the United States and has
been cited for more than 4,500 Clean Water Act violations in West
Virginia and Kentucky. The rally Web site features a video of Massey
Energy CEO Don Blankenship accusing “environmental extremists” of
trying to destroy jobs by opposing mountaintop removal coal mining. The
rally is being held at the same time as the United Mine Workers of
America Labor Day celebration, forcing workers to choose between the
Union event and the company event.

Coal-fired power
plants are the largest single source of U.S. and global greenhouse gas
emissions. Mountaintop removal is an extreme form of coal mining in
which the top third of mountains are blasted off to expose coal seams
and then the waste is pushed into valleys. Since mountaintop removal
coal mining began in 1970, 1.5 million acres of hardwood forest have
been lost, more than 470 mountaintops have been permanently destroyed,
and 1,200 miles of streams have been buried.


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