Coal Industry Plugs

Musings From Friday Morning News

In the business world the dollar is the religion of choice, with it businesses are able to buy politics. This years political buy has started in the dirtiest business in America.

Coal Industry Plugs Into the Campaign –
A group backed by the coal industry and its utility allies is waging a $35 million campaign in primary and caucus states to rally public support for coal-fired electricity and to fuel opposition to legislation that Congress is crafting to slow climate change.

The group, called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, has spent $1.3 million on billboard, newspaper, television and radio ads in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina.

Like every self-interest group, their name is a classic use of oxymoronic phraseology. Americans for Balanced Energy Choices…Damn, how clever can you get. So, the fact that the coal industry doesn’t have to pay for it’s own cleanup and therefore keeps its cost per calorie artificially low is balanced? The fact that the coil industry can destroy lives, communities, whole ecologies to keep the profits flowing into the pockets of a few…is balanced? The fact that these “facts” keep the real cost hidden until it’s too late to recover them from the “corporate citizens” who profited, keeps the energy choices they are so interested in preserving limited…this is balanced?

Why is it that almost evertime one of these “public” interest groups names itself, if it’s speaking for a “corporate citizen’s” point of view, the very name means the exact opposite of what it says. This group of coil industry lobbyists has no interest in balanced energy choices. They only want to preserve their own self interest. They have already proven by their actions that they could care less for the public, the communities they operate in, or the earth they destroy to rip the coal out at as low a coat as they can get away with and not go to jail.

The coal mining industry is fighting back. It increased the budget of the National Mining Association, the industry’s main lobbying group, by 20 percent this year, to $19.7 million. Last September, the industry also boosted the budget of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices more than fourfold. The roster of backers includes 28 companies and trade associations such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Duke Energy, Southern Co. and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

So far the purchasing power of the coal dollar seems to be working as well as it always has. They managed to get the rules relaxed on dumping spoil into streams.

And much as the groups name itself is a deception, so are the adds it’s running in primary states.

The ads being run by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices talk about “clean coal.” New power plants are cleaner than they used to be because they must meet more stringent federal regulations limiting such pollutants as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. But climate change is linked to carbon dioxide emissions, which are not yet regulated; those emissions have dropped more modestly as plants have become more efficient.

The group’s newspaper ads avoid that distinction. They say that today’s carbon-fired plants are “70 percent cleaner based on regulated emissions per unit of energy produced.” That does not refer to carbon dioxide.

So the entire purpose of the group seems to be to “muddy” the political waters…much as it’s members have muddied the waters of the streams and rivers of Appalachia for decades.

For more information about the real choice that coal is go to:

Related News:

Mining Giant to Pay Million EPA Fine –
One of Appalachia’s coal-mining giants agreed yesterday to pay $20 million, the largest such fine imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, after an investigation found more than 4,500 instances in which mine runoff tainted nearby waters.

Massey Energy Co., based in Richmond, also pledged to make about $10 million worth of upgrades to prevent such violations and to clean up a West Virginia stream ravaged by mining-related pollution. The terms were mandated in a consent decree filed yesterday in federal court in Charleston, W.Va.

It is interesting that it was only when the potential scope of the liability threatened shareholder value that the company decided to settle…for a much lessor amount.

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