Hometown Paper Exposes Zinc Mine on Al Gore's Property

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 19, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: As Al Gore gears up for his big day on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, the former vice president's local newspaper is looking to discredit him, citing a zinc mining operation on his Tennessee farm that has lined his pockets, some say to the tune of half a million dollars. The "Tennessean" points to millions of pounds of potentially toxic substances that may have been released into the air during the mining process.

The paper does, however, point out that there's no concrete evidence that actual damage to the environment has been done.

Joining us now is the author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming," Chris Horner, and the host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Ecotalk," Betsy Rosenberg.

Mr. Horner, I want to reemphasize that last statement: No evidence that there's been any harm to the environment. Furthermore, Al Gore has never spoken out against the idea of mining, which has nothing to do with global warming, and people are trying to tie him to this because of his stance on global warming. What does one have to do with the other?

CHRIS HORNER, AUTHOR: I have to disagree with you and refer to none other than Al Gore, his first book, 1988, "Earth in the Balance," in which, in the words of the famous DNC memo characterizing it, Al Gore equates a failure to recycle aluminum cans with the Holocaust. And here he is associated with mining virgin ores. The shame, the shame.

It isn't about whether or not this mine violated any permit processes. It did, as mines often do. Mining isn't the cleanest business, which is why the greens absolutely hate it. But it's an honest business. It's necessary to our economy. And thank goodness Al Gore and others allowed their land to be used to mine zinc.

It's the hypocrisy, stupid. If you know anything about this guy's environmental record, you know not just the DNC memo, but that his writings have been analogized to and compared with the Unabomber's. And one thing you can't confuse between the two...


COLMES: You're out to get him. You want to smear the guy.

First of all, Betsy, the mine was sold in 2003. There's also a provision in the 30-year agreement, according to Gore's office that he signed, that there could be no legal recourse, even if he wanted to cancel that agreement, he couldn't do it. Finally, when he could, he did sell the mine. And he's asked that going forward there be as much ecological greenness as possible in the dealing with that mine.

BETSY ROSENBERG, HOST OF "ECOTALK": He's brought in an environmental group called EarthWorks to make sure that they're handled in an environmental responsible way.

COLMES: Exactly.

ROSENBERG: And, by the way, that newspaper article was not meant to discredit Al Gore. If you read it all the way through, they say that this operation had a clean record. There were no major environmental or health problems.

Now, of course, mining is not a clean industry or practice, but Al Gore inherited this from his father on the land that he inherited, and he said he can't get out of the lease if he wanted to. And he's now taking the right action.

HORNER: He bought it.

ROSENBERG: But it's skirting the issue. You guys are getting your knickers in a twist because he's going to be testifying about some truth this week, so you're digging back into his past and now...


HORNER: Betsy, who's "you guys"? Who's "you guys"? You say this is intended to discredit him. I agree with you it wasn't. But here's why it was published.

If you follow Gore's record, you know about this story. It's been out there everywhere but the establishment press for about 15 years. Why did the "Tennessean," clearly an establishment outlet, choose to publish it now? Because his hypocrisy is redefining hypocrisy. It's anything about the mine; it's the hypocrisy, stupid.



HANNITY: Hang on a second. Betsy, let me stay on this point. If you go to look at his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," they have signs up there recommending, you know, when possible use mass transit. Use light rail. If you can, walk or ride your bicycle.

ROSENBERG: Do you do that? Do you do that?

HANNITY: Hang on a second. Now we discover...


HANNITY: ... you know, he advises us to walk. He travels around the world in private jets.

ROSENBERG: And he's doing carbon offsets 100 percent.

HANNITY: Carbon offsets is a crock, and you know it. He uses 22 times the amount...

ROSENBERG: It's a start. It's a start.

HANNITY: ... of electricity as the average American.

ROSENBERG: And he's not the average American. He's a former vice president.


HANNITY: ... former vice president environmentalist. In the five-year period from 1998 to 2003, before the mines were shut down, 16.6 million pounds of toxic substances were released in the air, water and land around the area, according to the EPA's...


HANNITY: ... EPA's toxic release inventory data, and another 2.6 pounds of...

ROSENBERG: It doesn't matter. It's all a smoke screen.

HANNITY: Oh, it doesn't matter?

ROSENBERG: You're avoiding the truth. What about the truth about climate change scares you so much?

HORNER: It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.

ROSENBERG: No, because it's the past, and we need to look forward...

HANNITY: It doesn't matter. If you're Al Gore and a liberal, you can be a hypocrite.

ROSENBERG: ... and we all need to look at our own ecological footprint, including Al Gore, including Al Gore.


HANNITY: So should he give up flying in private jets?


HANNITY: Should he give up — cut back on his electrical uses?

ROSENBERG: Who among has not looked at their own eco footprint? He should. Absolutely. And in the meantime, he's doing carbon offsets. We all should. We all need to.

HANNITY: In the mean time, he's a hypocrite, Chris Horner.

ROSENBERG: Ninety two percent of Americans feel we are using too much energy and too much oil...


ROSENBERG: ... and consumers, business, and government all need to do more...


HANNITY: Hang on. Chris? Chris?

HORNER: I noticed that Al Gore is calling for stringent environmental assessment of this now that you say he sold it. We have no evidence that he was shackled by this wealth that...


COLMES: And there's no evidence that this mine is causing any ecological disturbance...


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