The coal industry is on the ropes, but is working hard to ensure that regardless of who wins in the November elections, coal will come out on top. Funded by the coal industry, the front group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) is appealing directly to politicians, but also to the general public that will be voting. "We are out there talking to everybody, from people who are running for president of the United States down to Joe Six-pack," said Joe Lucas of ABEC. ABEC has run several TV ads, including the one above. Among ABEC's other expenditures is $5 million paid to CNN for advertising and co-sponsorship of at least six presidential debates. They are expected to lay out $40 million this year to further their cause -- double their 2007 budget. "With 59 coal power plants scrapped last year, the industry is fighting to make sure it can emerge from the climate change debate with a guaranteed spot in the nation's energy future." As CMD previously reported, ABEC was responsible for 30 santas delivering coal-shaped chocolate to members of Congress at the holidays. For more information on coal, visit the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch.org.