Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Americans for UNbalanced Energy Choices

CNN has held a Democratic presidential candidates debate and will hold a Republican candidates debate that are each sponsored by a group with the innocuous title Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. Sounds fair enough. From the name, you would think that the group promoted all sorts of energy alternatives, such as renewables, nuclear energy, and the like, or maybe even promoted conservation. You'd be wrong.

The group is actually an "astroturf" organization, that is, an industry-funded organization that is supposed to look like a grass-roots organization. Who are the funders? Coal-based power plants, including North Carolina's own Duke Energy.

The group states its mission as:
We believe that America can continue to make great progress in improving environmental quality while at the same time enjoying the benefits of using domestic energy resources like coal to meet our growing demand for affordable, reliable and clean energy.

In a word … we believe in technology.

It's all quite touching.

The group also touts the coal-industry's success and commitment in cleaning up its plants. Of course, it doesn't mention that the technology it cites was only instralled after the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required power plants to adopt cleaner technologies like scrubbers. It also does not mention the industry's commitment to fighting these requirements, including Duke Energy's fight all the way to the Supreme Court, where the industry lost decisively in 2006. It also doesn't mention that it's real purpose is to get more coal plants built, in many cases against local opposition.

Americans do need balanced energy choices, but this organization won't be providing them.