Coal baron debates Kennedy over mountaintop mining

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Don Blankenship and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are certain they could win over the world if only the public could see mountaintop removal mining through their eyes.

On Thursday, the coal baron and the conservationist get their shot.

Blankenship, the outspoken chief of Massey Energy, goes toe-to-toe with Kennedy, the celebrity environmental attorney. It’s a fight for the hearts and minds of Americans who know next to nothing about coal.

The men will debate at the University of Charleston. Both men hope the conversation will carry beyond coal country.

Kennedy says Americans will insist on a ban once they have more knowledge of the issue. Blankenship says the fact that people will hear his message without media filtration makes it a win.