Basic Information

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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE, pronounced "ace...

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American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity ACCCE

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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE, pronounced "ace") is a front group for the coal industry. Through heavy lobbying and astroturf campaigns, ACCCE works to convince lawmakers and lay people that "clean coal" is a viable and environmentally sound energy option. ACCCE “believes in the robust utilization of coal” and promotes any legislation or legislator that furthers that goal.

Formed by the recombination of two earlier machinations of the coal industry, the Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) and the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), ACCCE has an annual budget in excess of $45 million.  Their funding comes from the country's major coal-generated utilities, coal producers and railroads.

ACCCE's founding president was Stephen Miller, who was replaced in 2012 by American Crossroads chairman Robert "Mike" Duncan, a former Republican National Committee chairman.

Evidence

Predecessor groups:

Before becoming ACCCE, the Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) worked with the Western Fuels Association (a coal utility collective) and Greening Earth Society (a publicity front group) to adamantly deny that carbon dioxide is an atmospheric pollutant, and lobbied against the Kyoto Protocol on the basis that industrial CO2 is not coupled with planetary warming.  The Western Fuels Association, then led by current Peabody CEO Fred Palmer, and the Greening Earth Society are known for non-scientific claims of the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide emissions.  Additionally, some Greening Earth Society’s “scientific advisors” has ties to ExxonMobil through their network of conservative policy institutions.

ACCCE member companies:

ACCCE’s member list includes Southern Company, American Electric Power, Peabody, Ameren, Western Fuels Association, and other directly vested interests in pro-coal lobbying, policy and subsidies.

Political Spending:

ACCCE spent over $19.2 million from 2008-2012 on lobbying, almost $10 million of which was spent in 2008 alone.

In the 2008 election year, ACCCE spent $40 million on television and radio advertising, profoundly influencing the political attention that coal received.  At the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, ACCCE spent $1.7 million on advertising and outreach.  Additionally, direct lobbying from Miller effectively reversed a statement from Joe Biden suggesting the Obama/Biden platform would not be supportive of “clean coal” during the 2008 election season.  The Center for Public Integrity found that 87% of Congressional members were ACCCE donation recipients in 2008:

“Political action committees and individuals employed by ACCCE member firms, including many top executives, contributed $15.6 million to federal campaigns in the 2008 election cycle.”

As of October 20, ACCCE spent over $16 million on energy and environmental advertising in 2010.  Over $3 million of this money went to national advertisements in Washington, DC, Montana and Texas in the three months before the 2010 elections.

Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama were the top two recipients of money from ACCCE member companies in 2008, at $302,474 and $241,870, respectively.

Opposition to climate change legislation:

ACCCE opposed the Lieberman-Warner climate bill, even though it included hundreds of billions of dollars in coal subsidies, on the basis of leaving greenhouse gas regulation up to individual states--something it also opposes.

Similarly, while ACCCE claims to “support federal climate policies that achieve emissions reductions”, it also boasts a “high-stakes effort to stop or change bills that would regulate CO2 emissions".

In August 2009, Select Committee on Global Warming Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) investigated forged letters sent by an ACCCE contractor to three House lawmakers.  ACCCE President and CEO Stephen Miller admitted to the existence of the forgeries and ACCCE released a statement on Aug. 3, 2009, which read, in part:

“Because of Bonner and Associates’ misconduct, we apologize to the community groups and the Members of Congress involved. There is no place for this type of deception. We applaud efforts to ensure that everyone involved in the public policy dialogue lives up to the highest ethical standards.”

That October, Miller testified under oath about the forged letters before Congress, falsely claiming that his organization had only participated in direct federal lobbying since 2008.

In March, 2011, ACCCE ran advertisements to support an attack on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's lawful regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. An amendment introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to a small business bill, based on anti-climate legislation authored by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), was introduced as a partisan tactic with low likelihood for success, although other amendments on the table would also threaten the EPA's ability to curb the consequences of climate change. ACCCE's effort was complimented by advertisements run by the National Association of Manufacturers and memos sent by Americans for Prosperity.

ACCCE has used questionable polling methodology in order to ensure that an overwhelming number of “opinion leaders” support the continued use of coal for electricity.

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