Friday, August 07, 2009

Coal lobby says a quarter of a trillion dollars in freebies is not enough

When it comes to chutzpah, you’ve got to hand it to the coal lobby.

Here it is, ready to walk away with literally hundreds of billions of dollars from the House-passed climate bill. It’s at the center of a lobbying scandal involving forged letters to members of Congress. And now it has the audacity to demand an even bigger payoff from taxpayers as the Senate scrutinizes climate legislation.

An excellent – and rather shocking – piece yesterday in Greenwire noted that

Coal's biggest lobbying group is launching a $1 million campaign to win support from Senate Democrats, an effort that employs the same public relations firm ensnared by a scandal over forged letters to Congress.

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), an alliance of coal and utility companies, hired Alexandria, Va.-based Hawthorn Group for the new effort. Hawthorn worked for the coal group earlier this year, coordinating outreach on the House climate bill. During that project, Hawthorn subcontractor Bonner & Associates sent at least three members of Congress a total of 12 fraudulent letters purporting to be from groups opposed to the legislation…

Coal received many provisions it sought in the House bill but is pressing for more in the Senate.

Coal interests want a provision in climate legislation that would limit how much businesses must pay for carbon dioxide emissions under a cap-and-trade program. Coal also wants financial support for research into ways to capture carbon emissions and sequester them underground. And the industry wants to slow down the pace of the cap, which in the House bill tightens over time.

There is probably no need to re-hash the lobbying scandal. We hope that Rep. Ed Markey’s investigation will get to the bottom of it.

As we tried to remind people yesterday , the Hawthorn Group boasted earlier this year that it had manipulated both politicians and the media to believe there was public support for something it called “clean coal.” (Show us where it is.)

And since the coal lobby (which includes coal-burning power companies such as Duke Energy and American Electric Power Company and Southern Company ) is now demanding even more ransom from the Senate, it might be worth taking a moment to consider how much money it would make from the House legislation that it now considers inadequate.

Clean Air Watch estimates that the coal lobby would receive more than a quarter trillion dollars in economic value between 2012 and 2030 under the House legislation. Yes, that is not a misprint – the word is trillion. The total includes the value of carbon permits given for free to coal-burning electric companies, “bonus” allowances for carbon capture and sequestration, free permits given to “merchant” coal plants and other freebies.

But you don’t need to take our word for it. An independent body such as the Congressional Budget Office or the GAO should examine the issue. We hope someone in Congress will press for such an unbiased analysis.


Cindy Findley said...

For those of you who are passionate about clean air, EPA is Requesing Nominations for 2009 Clean Air Excellence Awards Program

SUMMARY: EPA established the Clean Air Excellence Awards Program in February, 2000. This is an annual awards program to recognize outstanding and innovative efforts that support progress in achieving clean air. This notice announces the competition for the Year 2009 program.

DATES: All submissions of entries for the Clean Air Excellence Awards Program must be postmarked by September 25, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Concerning the Clean Air Excellence Awards Program please use the CAAAC Web site and click on awards program or contact Mr. Pat Childers, U.S. EPA at 202-564-1082 or 202-564-1352 (Fax), mailing address: Office of Air and Radiation (6102A), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004.

I found this information from Federal Register vol 74 no 153 as posted by

Anonymous said...

Should we be surprised that even with a $40 million war chest, industry still has to resort to deceit and lies to get its point out. The astroturfing campaign ACCCE plans in the wake of its blatant fraud attempts with Congress are offshoots of tactics it employed when still called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. As this clip shows, its organizers at campaign rallies in Nevada last year were dupes.
They admitted to reporters that they were paid to attend rallies wearing "clean coal" shirts.
Meanwhile, real grassroots efforts that have brought together diverse coalitions against the huge environmental and economic risks of coal are coming together and successfully going up against the likes ACCCE and industry's deep pockets with heart, intelligence and real common values, not just $$$. Check out for once such example.