Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tiff of the Titans!!

Kroger Co., the nations largest grocery chain, has incurred the wrath of the coal industry. This article showed up in my local rag today:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Kroger Company fundraising program for charities has gotten the nation's largest traditional grocery chain in trouble with the coal industry.

The West Virginia Coal Association and Friends of Coal say it's shocking that Kroger allowed the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition to participate. Kroger operates 46 groceries in West Virginia, the nation's second-largest coal producer.

OVEC recently won a federal lawsuit that hakes it harder to get permits for mountaintop removal mines in West Virginia. That victory prompted a similar challenge in Kentucky and drawn the ire of coal companies.

OVEC Executive Director Janet Keating says the industry would be better off complying with mining laws and regulations than worrying about where people shop.

Now, "on the surface", it sounds like the coal industry is showing their "seamy" side by going after Kroger for allowing a successful environmental organization to participate in a charity fund-raising program. You might think the industry has reversed their usual practice of "making a mole hill out of a mountain", but I disagree. I think their resentment towards Kroger goes back a long way. I believe they hold Kroger partly responsible for breaking up the profitable old system of "company stores", where the miners in the early coal-producing states had to buy all of their food at exorbitant prices from stores owned by the mining operators. Remember "...another day older and deeper in debt"? That honorable practice worked well for years, until Kroger came in and plunked down superstores right outside the mine entrances. The coal industry has a long memory, and this latest insult simply pushed them too far.

The "coal"ition of mine owners is so upset that they are threatening to put lumps of coal into the Christmas stockings of the Kroger board members. Kroger might retaliate by sabotaging the wheels on the shopping carts used by coal executives, so that they skid or shake. You can see where this could get entirely out of hand.

Kroger needs to do something to defuse this situation--extend an olive branch to the coal operators to end this feud before it's too late. But what? Wait, I've got it! Kroger should offer something mutually profitable to both sides, and offer to develop and market a full line of organic mine-runoff health drinks. Yeah, that'd work!--Kroger customers will buy anything!

Sadly, if that doesn't bank the fires of outrage, the only hope will be a mediator skilled in old-fashioned scuttle diplomacy. Of course, if the health drinks are an unacceptable solution, Kroger could offer to do something similar with coal slaw. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

When OVEC comes clean on mountaintop removal, their deep seated hatred of ALL fossil fuels and quit lying about only being against MTR will they get ANY respect in the mining community. As far as resenting the demise of the company stores, come on man get in the 21 century!

JohnDWoodSr said...

Anonymous--How ridiculous does a post have to be before you realize that it isn't serious? Lighten up!

Anonymous said...

Johhny boy, from looking at your website I can clearly would have made an excellent candidate to go down to the compound and be a human shield for Yassiar Araffat and the boys!Too late, he's dead! lol

JohnDWoodSr said...

1/15/08 anonymous--I'm glad you were impressed enough to leave a comment. I will spend the rest of the day trying to make sense of it.

Anonymous said...

Figure it out yet John? I didnt think so.IF you can come in out of the LEFT long enough you will get it.

JohnDWoodSr said...

anonymous--I'm comfortable out on the left--it's light out here. Ever read the Constitution? Ever read the Gospels? Try it for yourself, and then maybe YOU'LL get it.