ACCCE's Newest Forgery and Latest Loss

Military veterans and former Sen John Warner got a an unwelcome surprise yesterday when they gathered at the White House to discuss their concerns about national security threats related to climate change. It turns more of their fellow veterans have become victims of the widening Congressional forged letter campaign funded by Big Coal. That's right, the latest bombshell to rock the Capitol came out today when the Washington Post reported that the American Legion Post of Rocky Mount VA had been unwittingly used as a shill in the continuing con game unraveling around Bonner and Associates, a Washington DC PR firm hired by a contractor to ACCCE.

According to the Washington Post account, a letter addressed to Virginia Rep Tom Pierrello (D-VA) from the American Legion Post asked him to "make sure the Waxman-Markey bill includes provisions to promote American energy independence, while protecting already cash-strapped constituents from increases in electricity prices." It concludes, "Thank you for listening to concerns of vets in your district."

Turns out the letter was a fake. Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, told the Post "We have confirmed directly with the person whose name was forged [that the letter is fake]" Burnham-Snyder told the Post.

The paper further reports the letter was turned over to the committee by ACCCE. A spokeswoman was quoted as saying the energy industry group still was not sure the letter was faked, although she added that forgeries are "inexcusable."

That's reassuring.

But that's not the only climate change disaster to hit ACCCE recently. It turns out in fact the climate in DC may be changing - in the world of big business lobbying on a comprehensive climate and energy bill.

Alstom has joined Duke and Alcoa as the latest companies to exit Big Coal's top front group - the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

The departures of the three giant corporations takes a lot of the muscle out of ACCCE - combined, the three companies have 55,000 U.S. employees and 151,000 worldwide. And that's $13 million in lobbying power twisting itself out of ACCCE's grasp.

And who's left that ACCCE still speaks for?

They are pretty much down to the usual suspects:  Coal companies, coal producers and coal transporters. It should now be clear to members of Congress that ACCCE's real purpose is to keep the dirtiest fuel we have dominating, and block the spread of clean energy. And that's a goal that fewer and fewer companies buy into.  

The departure in recent days and weeks of three big US companies from ACCCE means the growing split in the business community over climate policy has reached a new level: even the coalitions whose purpose is to shape climate policy cannot hold things together because of the intractable, inflexible positions of some of the members.


When some big companies made their disagreements with the US Chamber public last May it was big news, since the Chamber presents itself as the "voice of business" on a range of issues. Likewise when Duke pulled out of NAM.

But the pullouts from ACCCE mark something new, since ACCCE isn't a long-standing membership organization that addresses lots of issues, like the Chamber and NAM. As Duke Energy explained, they pulled out of ACCCE because some members will never agree to a bill. Which tells us that, after the last year, the companies that are really steering ACCCE only used the coalition as a cloak for their real goals, of killing a climate bill.

As the beleaguered ACCEE looks over what it has left to work with, it can take consolation in the fact that it now is really putting the "coal" in "coalition."