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July 17, 2012

Coal Astroturfing Continues

CoalThe coal industry's fake grassroots movement - or "astroturfing" - continues. In Pennsylvania, the industry has created a new group, through a merger of two other groups, so they can engage in the election fronting as if they represent the public interest. But really, their purpose is to push coal into the election.

Last week came the news that the Pennsylvania Coal Association would unite with Families Organized to Represent the Coal Economy (FORCE). FORCE pretended to be a grassroots organization, but SourceWatch showed that "membership is only open to companies, not individuals."

This new unified astroturf group is called the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, and will be headed by former State Senator John Pippy, who received campaign money from the Pennsylvania Coal Association back in his legislative days.

From the E&E story: (subscription required)

"The assault we're getting is from all sides; we really need to start telling our story," said former Republican state Sen. John Pippy, who heads the newly minted Pennsylvania Coal Alliance. He stressed the need for industry to "have a very, very strong and robust organization."

This is laughable when you consider how much money the coal industry is already throwing at local, state, and Congressional leaders to block health and pollution safeguards. Tell their story? Instead of the over-the-top video this "new" organization has on its website showing American flags and important science-y people doing things with beakers and glass jars, why not tell the real story of coal? Let's show how dirty coal is from beginning to end - from the dangerous and destructive mountaintop removal coal mining, to the deadly pollution it spews when burned, to the toxic ash left behind that pollutes our water.

The coal industry will stop at nothing to protect its loopholes and continue to pollute. This election season, they're up to their same old tricks of fake grassroot groups - and the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance is no different.

-- Heather Moyer

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