Pro-Coal P.R. Ramping Up

What is going on here? Big Coal is actually so concerned about tree-climbing activists that they’re spending oodles of money to drown cries of opposition with half-baked, stock footage platitudes … since when did hippies command that kind of attention? From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

HAZARD — Environmentalists’ campaigns against strip mining and coal-fired power plants have been so successful in swaying public opinion recently that the coal industry has started to take a more aggressive, visible approach to protect its interests, Kentucky activists say.

New industry-sponsored groups in the coal fields are sponsoring charitable efforts, concerts and rallies, and distributing stickers, T-shirts and license plates across the region.

A new multistate public relations campaign called FACES of Coal was officially launched last week in Kentucky; its aim is to educate people outside the mining regions about the benefits organizers say coal brings to the state: low electricity rates that attract other industries, high-paying jobs in poor areas, and flat land for development where there used to be unusable mountainsides.

Sad fact: According to this article, the “Friends of Coal” vanity plate is the fastest selling special-interest plate in the history of the Commonwealth. Why? Because the nice man in the video said coal was good!


Did you spot all of the lies?


  1. Beth
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Young people are leaving communities in Central Appalachia left-and-right because of the lack of good jobs. Moving past a coal economy would make way for sustainable economic development in these areas.

    People in this video talk about how much the coal industry contributes to their economy, but when you take into account government subsidies and the coal industry’s impact on the land, water, air, and people in these communities, you’d be foolish to give them so much praise.

    Can’t speak for West Virginia, but studies have shown that Kentucky LOSES money because of the coal industry. Check out MACED’s report on the impact of coal on Kentucky’s state budget.

  2. jmeador
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Right you are, Beth. The return on investment for green energy jobs has roughly four times the multiplier effect in terms of job creation and economic prosperity than that of its entrenched coal counterpart.

    And not only does Kentucky lose money, but the social and environmental fabric of these communities is torn asunder, which is hard to attach a number to.

  3. unclebart
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    The lead story on 60 Minutes last night was about coal ash and the coal company’s seeming inability to dispose of it properly. It focused not only on the horrendous environmental impact of coal ash but also on the EPA’s unwillingness to step in and regulate it from a federal level. States just have too much at stake financially to be trusted to regulate it properly. Not that the Feds are infallible, but I think they may be able to be trusted a bit more in this case.