"Clean Coal" for the Candidates

The coal industry front group calling itself Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) "is waging a $35 million campaign in primary and caucus states to rally public support for coal-fired electricity and to fuel opposition to legislation that Congress is crafting to slow climate change." ABEC has already spent $1.3 million on ads in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. Its ads talk about "clean coal" and "70 percent cleaner" coal plants, though those reductions have been mostly in non-greenhouse gases. "About 50 people, many of them paid, walked around as human billboards and handed out leaflets outside Tuesday's Democratic debate in Nevada with questions for voters to ask the candidates," reports Steven Mufson. Facing increased public opposition, coal companies gave more money to ABEC and the industry lobbying group the National Mining Association. As reported in a previous Spin, ABEC's PR plan singles out Nevada for "issues management," presidential candidate outreach and connecting with "cities and communities critical to helping shape policy at the grassroots level."