If Don Blankenship Can Be Indicted, What About…


    …the executives of pretty much every other fossil fuel company? Are they really any better than Blankenship, when their companies’ products (oil, coal, fracked gas, etc.) have been definitively proven to cause: “acid rain, which damages crops, forests, and soils, and acidifies lakes and streams;” “ground level ozone, or smog, which can burn lung tissue, exacerbate asthma, and make people more susceptible to chronic respiratory diseases;” particulate matter, which “can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death;” release of harmful substances like mercury, “a toxic heavy metal that causes brain damage and heart problems;” “SO2 pollution, which takes a major toll on public health, including by contributing to the formation of small acidic particulates that can penetrate into human lungs and be absorbed by the bloodstream;” etc.

    According to this table at Scientific American, particulate pollution from fossil-fueled power plants in the United States ALONE leads to the following every year: 679k “upper respiratory ills,” 630k “lower respiratory ills,” 603k asthma attacks, 59k cases of acute bronchitis, 30k premature deaths, ad nauseum. Finally, note that a study by Harvard researchers found that coal’s “public health costs in the Appalachian region alone are $75 billion annually;” while “health impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants cost $187 billion” per year.

    So who’s held responsible for all this? Where are all the other Don Blankenships who need to be indicted?