Mining industry can't shake off "Four Pinocchios" from its radio ad about EPA


UPDATE June 11: NRDC has joined more than two dozen organizations in urging the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the 23 radio stations that are airing the discredited radio ads from the National Mining Association. View the groups' letter request to the FCC here, and our press release here.

Today, NRDC sent a letter to radio station managers following up on our request to cease the airing of deceptive radio advertisements sponsored by the National Mining Association (NMA).

The NMA has spent roughly $1 million on these ads, which are scheduled through June to continue airing in six states, including Colorado, Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Taking a page straight out of the historic polluter playbook, the mining industry is fear mongering about EPA’s proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants. They are using these ads to spread lies about electric bills “nearly doubling.” In reality, EPA projects the proposed carbon pollution limits would decrease consumer electric bills by 8 percent on average. To say that the ad is based on a DOE official’s quote taken out of context is understating the issue – the NMA twisted the quote right out of its joint.  The NMA ads are so egregious that the Washington Post fact checker calls the ads “bogus” and “unsupported,” and assigned the radio ads “four pinocchios,” the most severe rating for false claims.


Although exaggerated advertising is regrettably common in today’s media environment, it is rare that ads are based on full-blown falsehoods. The Federal Communication Commission instructs broadcasters to “ensure that advertisements aired on their stations are not false or misleading.”

That’s why two weeks ago, NRDC made its first request to radio station managers to take down these deceptive ads. Of course, the mining industry was compelled to protect its advertising investment, and issued a letter attempting to defend its radio ad. However, because the Washington Post fact checker got all the facts right, the polluters have no leg to stand on. The NMA letter just piles on more deception to its original false claims. It cannot deny that the ad is based on a quote that is irrelevant to the EPA’s carbon pollution standards, so instead the NMA tries to distract from the ad claims and seeks to blame wholly unrelated EPA pollution limits for higher electric bills.

The mining industry’s attempts to defend its deception are ludicrous. Check out our letter sent today that debunks each twisted argument from the NMA, point by point. These ads have been independently verified to be false and misleading. Per FCC guidance, radio station managers airing these ads need to take them down immediately.


Image credit: Flickr User Mark Anderson