clean coal

PolluterHarmony: A Match Made In Washington

Congressmembers, are you too busy being indentured servants to corporations to find love?

Lobbyists, did that pickup line about healthcare flop with your beloved Senator?  Well, have you heard the one about “clean coal” yet?

Polluters, are you too shy to admit the things you’d like to do to Rep. Joe Barton

Well, you are all in luck.  Today marks the launch of, a new online matchmaking service designed to help dirty polluters and their lobbyists find that perfect politician to live forever in holy mmm…

ACCCE Hires New PR Firm With Bush Ties To Push Coal

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has hired two new public relations firms to hock its message in the wake of the disastrous job done by Bonner & Associates. 

ACCCE has retained HDMK, a PR firm with very strong ties to former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, to manage its national media efforts, while Dan Ronayne, a managing director of the Howard Consulting Group, was retained to work with regional reporters.

HDMK is run by Terry Holt, the national campaign spokesperson for George W. Bush in the 2004 election and the former spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner.  Other HDMK partners include Trent Duffy, a former deputy press secretary to President George W. Bush, Jim Morrell, former deputy chief of staff to the House Republican Conference and a speechwriter for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Chad Kolton, another long-time Republican communications operative who served in the Bush administration as press secretary at the OMB and FEMA.

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.”

Maddow on Bonner and Adfero's Astroturfing for Coal

On her show last night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow lambasted the latest coal lobby astroturf campaign for using generic clip art stock photos for their FACES of coal campaign. I guess the coal lobbyists behind the campaign couldn’t find any real people willing to pose as pro-coal cheerleaders and instead had to rely on stock photo stand-ins instead.

This story was first uncovered by the hardworking folks at Appalachian Voices who are fighting to save the mountains of Appalachia from the hugely destructive and toxic industry process of mountain top removal.

Maddow also gave a quick shout-out to DeSmogBlog on her show presumably for our work to uncover the high-powered Washington, DC public relations company, Adfero Group, that appears to be working behind the scenes on the FACES astroturf campaign. 

Brad Johnson at the WonkRoom reported yesterday that Adfero Group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

Astroturf PR firm also a major Republican Party Player

It has now been revealed that a Washington, DC PR powerhouse that was recently exposed as being part of an anonymous “grassroots” pro-coal group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

As regular readers will recall, earlier this week we exposed the ties between a new pro-coal “grassroots” group calling itself the “The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal), and a Washington, DC firm called the Adfero Group. Adfero’s client list includes Koch Industries and the US Chamber of Commerce, two leaders in the fight to confuse, distort and deny the realities of climate change - and especially to block government action that might affect their bottom line.

Brad Johnson at the Wonk Room is reporting today that Adfero also has significant ties to another very powerful group in Washington, DC that would love nothing more than to see legislation on climate change blocked, the Republican Party.

Johnson writes: “A new “grassroots” fossil fuel front group, FACES of Coal, is employing a shadowy Republican-staffed company to spread its message. The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security — a new pro-mountaintop removal campaign that refuses to reveal its “grassroots” members — is employing a GOP Beltway shop to promote its work.”

New "Grassroots" Pro-Coal Group backed by K-Street PR Firm

“The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal).” the latest “grassroots” organization to join the public conversation on behalf of the coal industry, appears to be a project of the K-Street public relations firm, the Adfero Group, one of industry’s most accommodating voices in Washington, D.C.

The FACES website, which includes no contact information, is registered to Adfero.

[Update: since we posted this article, the website registration for has been updated overnight and Adfero’s name has been wiped, however - thanks to research by one of our most loyal readers, Frank Bi, a cross-reference with Adfero’s IP address still shows running on their server.]

FACES describes itself as “an alliance of people from all walks of life who are joining forces to educate lawmakers and the general public about the importance of coal and coal mining.” But Adfero’s client list includes Koch Industries and the US Chamber of Commerce, two leaders in the fight to confuse, distort and deny the science of climate change - and especially to block government action that might affect their bottom line.

Shower Congress with Coal in America

Filmaker David Novack never set out to make a film about the American coal industry, but he couldn’t help himself after he witnessed first hand what coal was doing our health and environment.

I first met Novack a couple of years back when I was planning a new project called Coal is Clean/Coai is Dirty. Novack was just putting the finishing touches on his film Burning the Future: Coal in America and he was kind enough to provide me with some footage I could use for my project.

I knew coal was bad in so many ways: increased asthma rates in kids, Mercury in breast milk, smog, climate change, mountain top removal, and the list goes on. But what Novack’s done with this film is bring the human voice to the dirty coal story. He makes it so real that you can’t help but get angry and want to do something about it.

Burning the Future is the Inconvenient Truth of the American coal industry and anyone who sees it will walk away with a seething passion to fight the coal industry and wail away at the “clean coal” propaganda machine.

The Nation’s Must-Read Article “The Dirt on Clean Coal”

Ari Berman’s must-read article “The Dirt on Clean Coal” upholds The Nation’s proud reputation for investigative reporting which separates it from most mainstream outlets, posing relevant questions and actually attempting to find answers to them.

Berman asks the critical, overlooked question of the day, “Can the same people who told us that global warming didn’t exist–or that it was a good thing–suddenly be trusted to help solve the climate crisis?”

As you might guess, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Berman details how the coal industry - through its $40 million Astroturf campaign by the front group “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity” - is working feverishly to fight Congressional efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, hoping to ensure that the world’s coal supplies – and the climate – continue to burn for decades to come.

Busting the Abundant Coal Reserves Myth

The coal industry’s spin doctors have been droning on about the abudance of coal for the last year, but new research by Dave Rutledge, Chair of Caltech’s engineering and Applied Sciences Division, calculates that the world’s coal reserves may be much less “abundant” than the coal industry would like us to think:

“The record of geological estimates made by governments for their fossil fuel estimates is really horrible,” Rutledge said during a press conference at the American Geological Union annual meeting. “And the estimates tend to be quite high. They over-predict future coal production.”

The coal lobby states that, “within our [US] borders, we have enough coal to last the next 200 years.” But by Rutledge’s calculations 90% of the entire world’s estimated coal reserves will have been produced by 2069.

You can check out a copy of Rutledge’s powerpoint presentation here (4MB powerpoint file): Rutledge coal and oil reserves presentation.

Clean Coal Opposition Mounting

The last month has seen a flurry of activity on the clean coal opposition front and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. 

I thought it would make an interesting post to take some of the best blog post out there on so called “clean coal” and share them with you here on DeSmogBlog. As much as the multi-million dollar coal industry lobbyists want us to think their product is clean, it just ain’t so.

How America Can Break Its Coal Addiction (Or: no, coal isn’t necessary)

Very simply, 50% of US electricity comes from coal at this time. This is a serious portion of the overall US carbon load. It is also a major source of mercury and other pollutants worsening our lives. And, just remember, clean coal is like dry water — it simply doesn’t exist other than in advertising slogans.

Celebrate, C’mon! (Seriously, please c’mon)

Anti-coal protesters out on Monday: ~2,500 Pro-coal protesters out on Monday: 15 + this guy.

On Monday afternoon, pro-coal activists like the impassioned young man shown above gathered near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of a “Celebrate Coal!” counter-protest against a massive anti-coal rally taking place at the nearby Capitol Power Plant.

“Clean” Coal and “Healthy” Cigarettes - Coal Industry Huckster Won’t Admit Burning Coal Causes Climate Change

Joe Lucas has a hard job. He’s the PR huckster that heads up the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the front group that shills for the coal industry.


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