ACCCE Coal Lobby Targeting Key Democrats In Senate Climate Debate

America’s Power Army, the sister organization to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), sent an email this week to its Astroturf ‘army’ laying out the coal lobby’s plans to barrage key Democratic targets in the coming weeks to ensure that energy and climate legislation provides sufficient loopholes to maintain the Dirty Coal status quo. 

America’s Power Army, formerly known by the less-militaristic name Americans for Balanced Energy Choices until August 2008, sent its ‘Eye on Washington’ Fall 2009 update from Washington in the form of a slickly-crafted email blast, complete with personalized introduction (Dear [Insert Recipient Name Here] code) and a banner picture of clear skies with just a few wispy white clouds hovering over the Capitol. 

The Army email says:

"America's Power Army – along with our parent organization, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) -- is committed to supporting the enactment of legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, protects consumers, preserves fuel diversity to promote greater energy independence; and encourages the development and deployment of advanced technologies for using coal."

Admitting that their efforts fell short in the House bill debate, the Astroturf Army promises to succeed in the Senate debate, working on behalf of the average consumer, of course:

While we were not successful including consumer cost protection guarantees in the House-passed version of the bill, we are now working with key Senators to seek their inclusion in any bill the Senate passes.

And then they reveal who their key Democratic targets are:

Recently, a group of eight influential Senators -- Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Arlen Specter (D-PA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) -- sent a list of suggestions to Senator Boxer that would encourage the deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies. These Senators understand that technological advancement is essential to address climate change. We will work with these and other Senators to ensure that any climate change bill includes provisions to promote carbon capture and storage technologies.
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has begun hearings on the economic implications of climate change legislation. Senator Bingaman has long been an advocate for the same provisions that we support – a limit on the price of allowances -- to prevent energy prices from unexpectedly skyrocketing under a cap-and-trade bill. Other members of this important committee – including Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – also have raised concerns about the energy price and job impacts of the House-passed bill.

ACCCCE and the Astroturf Power Army will be out in full force lobbying these and other key Democrats as various Senate committees begin to hash out their version of climate and energy legislation.  They will ask for as many loopholes and subsidies for the coal industry as possible, and probably still end up unhappy with the bill because it doesn’t do enough to protect the profits of coal barons. 

This coal industry PR and lobbying effort has nothing to do with protecting the average consumer from energy price increases, as they like to suggest.  For ACCCE and the Astroturf Power Army, it is all about protecting the coal industry from having to pay for (or maybe someday actually reduce) the CO2 pollution spewing from their coal-fired plants and wrecking the global climate.

Here’s an idea for the coal industry -- if you are so genuinely concerned about the average consumer’s electricity bill rising as a result of climate and energy legislation (an increase which several analyses show will be minimal anyway) -- then please, by all means, go ahead and shoulder the cost increase yourself.  There is no mandate in any legislation that says you must pass on any additional costs to your customers. 

Want to be the hero here, coal barons?  Absorb the costs of cleaning up your industry all by yourselves.  If ‘clean coal’ electricity is as easily achievable as you at ACCCE and your ‘Army’ state that it is, show us the money.  Invest a fraction of your vast profits and clean up your act. 

Don’t ask taxpayers to foot the bill to chase your pipe dream that coal can ever be clean. Show us the money.  Show us this elusive 100% carbon capture and storage can work.  Prove us wrong, on your own dime. 

Come on, we double dare ya.