The fight over coal mining
And the utilities have become—a small number of utilities, which are coal-burning plants, have become unbelievably profitable because when the environmental standards were passed in the ’70s, all the plants, which were presumed to be going out of business soon, were exempt from complying with wide pieces of the Clean Air Act, and then, as a result, became wildly more profitable and have been kept going for 50 years as a result. And so, enormous pieces of the arsenic that’s dumped into American families, the lead emissions that we pick up, the mercury that’s contaminating riverways across the country, the carbon dioxide emissions, sulfur, nitrous oxide, ground-level ozone, is coming out of this small number of coal-fired power plants, which are spending enormous money to prevent themselves from being regulated in a way that would force them to be on a level playing field with solar plants or wind power plants or geothermal plants, and therefore lose.
Mr. Blankenship—excuse me—utilizes access on a regular basis, and he did so quite publicly. And he’d utilize that to suggest that his policies and the policies of contesting every violation, for example, were good policies and policies which, in point of fact, that they wanted to follow. So they performed a very confrontational approach to the regulators, both on a federal and state level. And that meant that the inspectors were challenged when they were underground. They challenged the citations that were written. They spent more time challenging the citations than they did fixing the problems. But he made it a practice to do that.