Progress Energy Dumps Pro-Coal Front Group

Progress Energy is the latest in a growing number of energy companies abandoning the pro-coal industry front group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). ACCCE opposes President Obama's clean energy reform agenda, and was the group that ran ads at Christmas time, 2008 featuring animated lumps of coal called the "Clean Coal Carolers" cheerfully singing Christmas Carols like "Frosty the Snowman" with the lyrics changed to deliver pro-coal propaganda ("Frosty the Coalman is a jolly happy soul. He's abundant here in America, and he helps our economy roll. Frosty the Coalman's getting cleaner every day. He's affordable and adorable and helps workers keep their pay.") Progress Energy serves 3.1 million customers in Florida and the Carolinas, and it follows Duke Energy, Alcoa and other power generators in pulling out of ACCCE. Progress had been one of ACCCE's biggest funders, and had given the group $1 million in 2008. But Progress recently announced they were moving away from coal and shutting down 11 coal-fired power plants, in favor of moving towards natural gas -- a less greenhouse-gas intensive fuel source. ACCCE has been spending over $40 million a year to promote the myth of "clean coal." In August, 2009, ACCCE's Vice President of Communications even tried to portray mountaintop removal as a boon to rural communities because it solved the problem of a "lack of flat space" in Appalachia.


Those of us in the southern tier of NY state and Pennsylvania can assure you that natural gas is going to be no cleaner than coal and not much of an improvement. The hydrofracking methods that are required to extract natural gas from shale formations are incredibly toxic and energy intensive. If these are the prevalent extraction methods, then clean natural gas is as much of a fantasy as clean coal.

Natural gas drilling, and fracking, is also occurring widely through the Rocky Mountain region. Here is an excellent documentary describing the environmental damage and health hazards from natural gas drilling as they are happening now in the western U.S.: [ Split Estate].

Anne Landman