Back in March, author Jeff Biggers issued a call to action in order to ensure the support of Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia for the Appalachia Restoration Act, wondering aloud: will Sen. Webb, a Democrat, fight for the act, or for Big Coal? According to Grist, the bill aims to "sharply reduce mountaintop-removal coal mining and protect clean drinking water for many of our nation's cities. It will protect the quality of life for Appalachian coalfield residents who face frequent catastrophic flooding and pollution or loss of drinking water as a result of mountaintop removal coal mining."
The bill has been referred to committee, and still has a long way to go. However, it now seems quite clear where Sen. Webb stands -- and it is with not only the coal industry, but with Tea Party, astroturf tactics, as well.
Senator Webb was joined by his fellow U.S. Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner, both spoke at a pro-coal industry rally yesterday -- and said some slightly nutty stuff. Video after the jump:
(Nice t-shirt on that guy, right? "Can Obama's America Last"? Hey, that spells C.O.A.L! Give that guy a scratch-and-sniff sticker!)
Without having seen that T-shirt, Biggers, previewing the event for the Huffington Post, goes beyond the ridiculous idea that coal is part of any clean energy solution and connects the rally to Tea Party astroturfers:
Under the guise of "celebrating the American coal miner," an infamous K-Street Big Coal front lobby group has bankrolled the buses, hotels and meals to bring Appalachian coal mining supporters to Washington, DC today...
One of the groups sponsoring the event was the West Virginia Coal Association -- which, per the Blue Virginia blog, once claimed that mountaintop removal mining has "actually helped improve habitat for wildlife in Appalachia."
But if you're not dizzy from that spin, you might like to know that the lobby group Biggers was talking about was another sponsor of the event Webb and Warner spoke at yesterday -- the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security, or FACES of Coal. How real those "faces" are was a questioned answered on this blog back in April (they weren't).
That said, the faces of Democratic Sens. Webb and Warner at that rally were very real. Wonder if they knew who was footing the bill.