ACCCE Adds Coal to "Back to School" Supplies List - Because its Cheap!

Will wonders never cease. ACCCE, quickly becoming the Inspector Clouseau of the advocacy world for its misteps and outright stumbles, has discovered a new factoid that it thinks really makes the case for coal.

In a blog post and email sent out to supporters this week, the leading advocate for burning more coal noted that parents are likely to spend more on school supplies than on electricity if you are sending three kids to school.

You see, ACCCE reports that Bloomberg reports that the average costs of supplies and activity materials will be $473 per elementary school student this year. Three kids = $1,419 on school supplies. But a year's worth of electricity would only cost $1,200. See the savings?

Right. Neither did I. Why ACCCE thinks comparing the cost of school supplies to the cost of electricity makes sense, I don't know. Better move your desks a little further away from the smokestacks, guys.

But of course, their triumph is more of a wash if you have two kids. See, if you have two kids, well then you lose here, since your school supplies would then cost less than your electricity ($946 compared to $1,200.) And its a downright disaster if you only have one kid. Why, then you are getting a really bad deal - then your electricity costs waaay more than school supplies ($473 compared to $1,200.) 

Anyway, ACCCE's point is that since your coal-fired electricity is so much cheaper than school supplies, why not burn more of it? Or tell Congress to let ACCCE's members burn more of it. Something like that, I think.

Of course, aside from this non-sensical comparison, ACCCE's overlooking a couple of key points. You see, the coal-fired power plants that make the electricity are also one of our nation's biggest sources of a whole bunch of pollutants - including airborne mercury, which is known to cause birth defects and learning disabilities. That's something for your kids that only the coal industry seems eager to "supply." Thanks, coal!

Oh, and coal is also one of the leading sources of the pollution that contributes to ground-level ozone, or smog, which in turn can cause and trigger asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6.7 million kids have asthma - or 9.1% Thanks, coal!

And, just for good measure, the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) released a study last year showing that eliminating kids' exposure to coal plant pollution "can have a direct, positive impact on children's cognitive development and health."

Not to mention the impact of coal on your kids' parents, teachers and families - after all, pollution from coal plants sends 24,000 Americans a year to an early grave, dumps lots of other toxic and dangerous pollution into our air, and this doesn't even get into the devastation from traditional coal mining, mountaintop mining or the leftovers after coal is burned.

All this is a nice example of "hidden costs" which is to say, you don't get billed for the negative impacts of coal in your monthly electric bill. But that "cheap" electricity ACCCE likes to brag about costs us more than most people realize - and certainly more than ACCCE is willing to say.

I could write more, but I actually have to get my kids.