Coal Group Misrepresents Veterans

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The coal front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has been in hot water lately for employing an astroturf group that forged letters to Congress opposing the House climate bill—and then for possibly lying under oath about their position. Now ACCCE is in trouble again—for misrepresenting the views of two major veterans groups in an email hyping coal’s role in energy security.

The email, sent in anticipation of Veterans’ Day, argues that coal can play a vital role in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and cites two groups—VoteVets and Operation Free. The problem: both of those groups are strong supporters of climate legislation—in part because of the national security threats posed by global warming—while ACCCE has been working energetically to undermine a bill.

Here’s the email:

With Veterans Day around the corner, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on all the military personnel who are involved in ensuring our country is protected.

Energy security is one issue that has become increasingly important to our veterans. In fact, national veterans groups Votevets and Operation Free are urging the government to become more energy independent and less reliant on foreign oil.

We can do this by using the abundant domestic fuels we already have. With more than 250 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves, the United States has more coal than the Middle East has oil.

We need to start putting our coal to use – and technologies such as hybrid-electric cars and cleaner, more efficient power plants are making it easier for us to do that.

“This is insulting to all of the Veterans who are fighting to protect America’s national security by supporting clean, American power,” wrote David Solimini, Operation Free’s media director, in a blog post.

“Carbon pollution causes climate change, and that makes world a less stable, more dangerous place,” Frankie Sturm, communications director for Operation Free, told Mother Jones. “As if that isn’t bad enough, it’s simply unacceptable that the ACCCE would politicize Veterans Day to safeguard its own profit.”

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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