Coal-promoting ringtones draw Sierra Club’s ire

May 8, 2009

West Virginians who want to show off their pride in the state’s coal industry can now do so via some catchy, coal-promoting ringtones put together by the West Virginia Coal Association.

Beware, however, that the ringtones have already drawn the ire of environmentalists.

The ringtones are jingles the West Virginia coal group has used for some time to promote the state’s vast coal resources (and presumably to offset the bad rap coal gets for producing about 30 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases).

Below are some of the lyrics:

Coal is WestVirginia/ Coal is me and you/ Coal is West Virginia / We’ve got a job to do/ Coal is energy (coal is energy)/ We need energy (we need energy)/ Coal is West Virginia


When we go down deep through the dark today/ We come up wth a light for America

For all the ringtones’ optimism, however, they are taking heat from environmental group the Sierra Club, which put together a video called “Coal Was West Virginia” that denigrates coal as dirty and a threat to the environment while the mobile phone jingles play in the background.  You can check it out below:

Photo Credit: Reuters/Andrea Hopkins (Retired miner Chuck Nelson, 57, surveys a mountaintop removal coal mine on Kayford Mountain, West Virginia)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

i find it difficult to believe that “dirty” energy like coal can’t be improved upon rather than ditched; perhaps the sierra club gaia-worshipers would like to see the myriads of americans dependent on the coal industry for survival become telemarketers or walmart greeters. as for the ring tones, re tyrell’s “nuke the whales” and “pave the rain forests” t-shirts were much more “in yo’ face” and humourous

Posted by jd | Report as abusive

Why doesn’t Virginia exploit the coal seam gas, it occurs naturally within coal deposits and has very little carbon dioxide content. It’s easy to exploit and it’s green energy, Conoco Phillips, British Gas and Petronas are successfully doing this in Queensland Australia and invested A$22 billion. This could be the solution to the Virginia problem.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

The Sierra Club has a franchise on how we should live and others should not be allowed to promote the social/economic concerns. Their eco – religion should not be challenged.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

Buffalojump, your concerns for economic prosperity are just as religious. Preservation of wild lands and ecosystems is crucial for maintaining healthy under ground water tables. Coal mining destroys the lush vegetation that holds soil together. This good soil in turn allows rain water to filter slowly through the crust past the bedrock to produce pristine mineral water. Otherwise the rainwater rapidly floods away causing soil erosion. Glacial ice and lake water, both significant sources of potable water, are in decline due to global warming. We must conserve all the water supplies that we can for future generations.

Perhaps conservation should be applied to our use of fossil fuels as well.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Coal mine operators have a history of using private armies and murderous security forces to block union organizing efforts and environmental responsibility. These practices go back over a hundred years. Like so many other industries in this country, mine operators will stop at nothing to preserve their business and wealth. The have the help of legislators who receive campaign contributions from these mining aristocrats.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive