Let's hope Obama's clean coal position has been compromised. Photo: Steve Rhodes
Undoubtedly you've seen plenty of pro-clean coal ads running on TV in the past year. But you may not be aware of the behind the scenes lobbying activity and campaign contributions of those ads' backers, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The Center for Public Integrity is running a good piece which details the history of ACCCE and how in 2008 they liberally funded both Democrats and Republicans, including both John McCain and Barack Obama:ACCCE Budget Dwarfs Previous Coal Lobby Funding
Most simply, ACCCE is a collection of 48 mining, rail, manufacturing and power companies with an annual budget of over $45 million. A figure that CPI points out is about three times larger than the coal industry's previous lobby and PR groups.
Read the original article (The 'Clean Coal' Lobbying Blitz) for the timeline of the group's activities in the past 12 months. But cutting to the chase, here are some of the top recipients of campaign contributions from ACCCE in 2008:
1. Sen. John McCain = $302,474
2. Pres. Barack Obama = $241,870 (all from ACCCE employees)
3. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) = $235,350
4. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (D-GA) = $230,900
5. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) = $175,600
6. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) = $168,415
7. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) = $166,050
8. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) = $156,300
9. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) = $142,700
10. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) = $141,700
11. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) = $139,050
12. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) = $136, 550
Obama Position on Clean Coal Weak
It'd be overreaching to say that Obama's support of clean coal has been bought—it's quite probable that no one in the campaign ever connected the dots on those donations from ACCCE employees—but he certainly has played both sides on the issue: Talking up the possibility of clean coal at some rallies—in Virginia "We figured out how to put a man on the moon in 10 years; you can't tell me we can't figure out how to burn coal that we mine right here in the United States of American and make it work"—and then talking (rightly and more realistically) how dirty coal actually is, and that we're quite a ways away from deploying carbon capture and storage technology on a wide scale, on other occasions.
It might be wishful thinking to hope that Obama comes out strongly against increased coal burning and preservation of one of the most environmentally damaging industries the world has ever seen (which, let's face it, is really what ACCCE is all about preserving), but we can dream.
More: The Center for Public Integrity
The Clean Coal Wars Heat Up - Who Will Win?
There Is No Such Thing as Clean Coal
Clean Coal Carolers From an Industry Run by Morons
Clean Coal Spokesman 'Doesn't Know' if Coal Plant Emissions Cause Global Warming (Video)