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For Immediate Release, September 7, 2009

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

Groups Denounce Verizon Wireless Sponsorship of Controversial,
Climate-change Denying Labor Day Event

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— A coalition of more than 40 conservation and faith organizations representing millions of Americans sent a letter to Verizon Wireless on Friday asking the company to withdraw its sponsorship of Massey Energy’s Friends of America Rally. The groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, are extremely disappointed that Verizon Wireless chose to ally itself with right-wing extremists in an anti-union event organized to oppose climate change legislation and to celebrate mountaintop removal coal mining.

“Despite the rally’s name, it is not friendly to America to cling to an industry that keeps Appalachia in a stranglehold of economic and environmental impoverishment by permanently polluting water supplies, blocking green-energy development and economic diversification, and contributing to global climate change. Coal corporations are making millions of dollars off destroying the mountains, and only pollution and poverty are trickling down to residents,” said Tierra Curry, a native of eastern Kentucky and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Verizon Wireless, a company that pats itself on the back for being environmentally responsible, did not respond to the groups’ letter. In addition to the Center for Biological Diversity, groups on the letter included Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth, Appalachian Voices, Christians Caring for Creation, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and many others. 

“Americans want clean drinking water and a transition to a green economy that the planet can sustain and that provides a good quality of life for our children and grandchildren. Verizon Wireless, unfortunately, has aligned itself with the extremists who advocate for the catastrophic effects of mining and burning coal,” added Curry.

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