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Controversial former coal titan Mr Don Blankenship win Senate seat in West Virginia

Coal News - Published on Wed, 03 Jan 2018

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Washington Times quoted Mr Don Blankenship as saying that Environmental Protection Agency has become “the biggest polluter in the world” by forcing US jobs to carbon-spewing countries like China. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for this colorful, wildly controversial Senate hopeful who’s using his West Virginia campaign as a vehicle to clear his name and push the theory that an Obama-led anti-coal conspiracy sent him to federal prison.

Mr Blankenship CEO of Massey Energy, spent a year behind bars after being convicted of conspiracy to violate safety standards in connection to the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in 2010 that killed 29 of his employees. Now he faces a seemingly uphill political battle.

Mr Blankenship facing off against Rep. Evan Jenkins and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the state’s GOP Senate primary, with the winner moving on to a tough general-election brawl with the nation’s reddest Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin.

But in a Republican Party that embraced President Trump and almost sent alleged child predator Roy Moore to the Senate in Alabama, it may be foolish to count out an unorthodox candidate like Mr.Blankenship.

The former coal titan said last week in an interview that “When you look at Trump’s margin [of victory] and look at the fact that I advocated his policies before he advocated his policies — I’ve long believed that trade policies are unfair and that regulations are stifling.”

After just a few minutes of talking to Mr Blankenship, it becomes clear that he’ll pursue dual tracks with his Senate candidacy. As he pushes Trump-esque trade policies and regulatory rollbacks, he also intends to convince voters that the government was responsible for killing his miners and is knowingly allowing unsafe mines to continue operating across the country allegations that miners’ unions and the federal government dismiss outright.

Mr Blankenship said that “As far as the explosion, I did not cause the explosion. The government did.” He addede that “We can prevent it from happening again. The government has not made an effort to keep it from happening again.”

Mr Rob Cornelius a Republican political operative who has worked with Mr Blankenship said that “Barack Obama, this local prosecutor and Joe Manchin put me in prison.”

That message already has hit the airwaves in West Virginia, where Mr. Blankenship is up with a conspiracy-flavored political ad that essentially pits him against Mr. Manchin and the entire federal government. The 30-second spot says the government has used Mr. Blankenship as a scapegoat to deflect blame from the fact that its own decisions led to the blast.

On policy, Mr Blankenship said that he’ll make regulatory reform a top priority if elected. He argues that the federal government has badly mishandled environmental rules, crushing businesses and forcing production into countries such as China, which have more lax rules on emissions.

Mr Blankenship said that “Those who claim to be concerned about the world overheating and oceans rising are either untruthful or ignorant. If you were a powerful person in the United States government and you were concerned about global warming, you certainly wouldn’t have the policies you have.” He added that “The EPA could be said to be the biggest polluter in the world.”

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 03 Jan 2018
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