A Spooked Coal Industry Fights Back, Trying to Buy Elections

Coal is Over bannerOur growing and increasingly organized anti-coal campaign must be doing something right, friends: word has it from AP that the coal industry – spooked by the success of the increasingly powerful movement to stop the coal rush – is fighting back big time. The industry is spending big bucks – tens of millions of dollars! – running major advertising efforts and going on the political offensive this election year to try to ensure that whoever is elected in November, coal’s future will be secure.

Are we going to let them get away with it?!

I think not!

We’re already going toe-to-toe with the coal-front group “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices” on the ground in primary states. We’re fighting proposed coal plants across the country and beating back the coal rush. We’ve pushed banks to scrutinize investments in dirty energy. We’re spending our spring breaks fighting dirty energy extraction and mountain top removal at Mountain Justice Spring Break, and we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2008 elections. And now we’re talking about a nationally-unified “No Coal!” effort and nationwide actions against fossil fuels on Fossil Fools Day.

So it’s David-and-Goliath time folks: time to get out that slingshot and keep hammering on the giant – the coal industry. We’ve got them mighty uncomfortable if they are spending tens of millions of dollars to fight back.

And sure, we’re up against a giant, but remember that there are two kinds of power in the world (as my friend Jenny says): money and people. Well we might not have much of the former, but we’re certainly strong on the latter!

So here’s to people power, taking on an industry intent on peddling a dirty energy future and putting billion dollar coal companies on the defensive!

And here’s to our vision of a sustainable, just, and prosperous future that inspires us to seek alternatives to a dirty energy future and ignore the coal industry’s package of lies!

Keep fighting the fossil fools. As I say at WattHead, a sustainable, just, and prosperous energy future is possible, and we can make it real.

[Update 2/28/08: Here's a link to the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices ads running in Ohio right now and in Iowa during the Caucuses. One of these, the "Ohio Jobs Ad," attacks green jobs head on. ABEC is a coal-industry funded "astroturf" group, a fake grassroots organization that claims to have 1500,000 members, "people like you." When you click on the ABEC Supporters tab, you find out who ABEC, really is. Supporters including "America's Coal-based Electricity Providers:"

* AMEREN Corporation
* American Electric Power
* Arch Coal, Inc.
* Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
* Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
* Basin Electric Power Cooperative
* BHP Billiton
* Buckeye Industrial Mining Co.
* Buckeye Power, Inc.
* Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
* CONSOL Energy Inc.
* CSX Corp.
* Detroit Edison
* Duke Energy
* First Energy Corporation
* Foundation Coal Corp.
* Hoosier Energy
* Norfolk Southern Co.
* Peabody Energy Corp.
* Southern Co.
* Tri-state Generation & Transmission Assn. Inc.
* Union Pacific Railroad
* Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

Oh yah, people just like you and me. We're all CEOs of major coal companies, right?!]

8 Responses to “A Spooked Coal Industry Fights Back, Trying to Buy Elections”


  1. 1 Morgan Feb 28th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Here’s to people power. Now’s the time to build our power by publicizing victories, driving forward and bringing our opponents on to our side.

  2. 2 jessejenkins Feb 28th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    On that note (about publicizing victories and efforts), I cross-posted this post (modified slightly for a different audience) over at my WattHead blog and DailyKos journal too. The DKos journal entry has recieved several hundred page views and been one of my most well-read yet! Check it out…

  3. 3 Angeline Feb 29th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Speaking of publicizing victories…check out these stats on the growth of the renewables industry.

  4. 4 Angeline Feb 29th, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Sorry the link above didn’t work. It’s http://www.carbonpositive.net/viewarticle.aspx?articleID=1007

  5. 5 mountaingirl Feb 29th, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Who knew raisin’ a ruckus at Bank of America could be so fun? A group of us down in South Carolina, both Columbia and Rock Hill, disrupted a boring day at the office for two branches of BoA. Complete with flyers, a few signs, Appalachian string band, Here’s to the Long Haul, and lotsa hootin’, hollerin’ and dancin’….we let Bank of America know that we’re not fooling around when it comes to their funding of mountain top removal and climate chaos! We’re gonna keep up the pressure and stand up for a just and clean future for generations to come!

  6. 6 Adam B Oct 18th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Here’s an idea: while we stand firm against the owners and interests of dirty energy, we do not make an enemy of the workers in those industries. We could match (or exceed) salary and add a bonus for former employees of the (hopefully collapsing) industries of dirty energy when they transfer into a similar green job. Or we could give them an added bonus when applying for green jobs. This would help make a smooth transition to green energy, and it wouldn’t be directly shutting down those companies: government investments, over time, would eventually out-compete dirty energy, and it accomplishes this without alienating those who make a living in those industries.

    Just a thought…. instead of spending so much on smear or misinformation campaigns, dirty energy interests could push for greater inclusion in the administration of such a transition.

  1. 1 Can Coal Ever Be Clean? Check Out “Burning the Future: Coal In America” to Find Out « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Feb 29th, 2008 at 8:40 pm
  2. 2 Wonk Room » Blog Archive » Democratic Candidates, in Coal Country, Wax Enthusiastic About Coal Trackback on Mar 21st, 2008 at 6:58 pm
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About Jesse


Jesse Jenkins is an energy and climate policy analyst, advocate, and blogger. Jesse is the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, California, where he works to develop and advance new energy solutions to power America's future, secure our energy freedom, and halt global warming. He joined Breakthrough in June 2008 and previously directed the Breakthrough Generation fellowship program for young clean energy leaders. Jesse worked previously as a Research and Policy Associate at the Renewable Northwest Project in Portland, OR, helping to advance the development of the Pacific Northwest's abundant renewable energy potential. A prolific author and blogger on clean energy issues, Jesse is the founder and chief editor of WattHead - Energy News and Commentary, a featured writer and advisory board member at the Energy Collective, and a frequent contributor at Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Grist.org.

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