BREAKING NEWS: RFK, Jr. and Don Blankenship to Debate Energy

This just in: Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, has accepted the challenge to debate environmental champion Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., senior counsel for NRDC, on energy issues.

I was with Bobby last weekend in Nashville at NRDC's Music Saves Mountains campaign event, but at that time Blankenship had not yet committed to the debate.  Now, it appears the two will square off at the University of Charleston in West Virginia on Jan. 21.

This should be a lively event, as Bobby is a life-long environmental activist and eloquent speaker and Blankenship is a controversial coal baron and fiery critic of environmental regulation.  Bobby advocates for legislation to address global warming while Blankenship claims that the climate is actually cooling. 

To get a flavor of the upcoming debate, watch an interview of Blankenship from earlier this week.  Wow.

Without a doubt, the two are polar opposites when it comes to coal.  Blankenship, of course, is the CEO of the nation's fourth-largest coal campany, which is notorious for its use of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.  Bobby, meanwhile, is a forceful proponent of clean energy alternatives who calls the industry's notion of "clean coal" a dirty lie.

A new report issued by Physicians for Social Responsibility provides a helpful primer on the environmental and health impacts of coal -- from the cradle to the grave.