At last week's public hearings on carbon pollution, hundreds of Americans showed up in Washington DC and Chicago to speak out for clean air - but the coal industry sent a message, too. Apparently unable to get enough real supporters to attend the hearing in Chicago, the coal industry posted an ad on Craigslist to pay people $50 to show up wearing pro-coal t-shirts.
I'd like to say it's comical to see a big industry stooping to this level, scrounging around to get find people willing to show up and say that we shouldn't protect public health from air pollution. But the truth is, this under-handed tactic is dangerous: unless you know that Big Coal paid people to show up wearing their t-shirts, pictures taken at the hearings will give the impression that there is more support for unlimited carbon dioxide pollution than actually exists.
Luckily, we caught them and got evidence of the under-handed tactic. But we need to make sure that if Big Coal pulls more stunts like this again, their astroturf activists aren't mistaken for the real thing. We'll be keeping our eyes open, and here are three things you can do to help fight back:
- Raise awareness about the Craigslist ad by sharing this image on Facebook:
- Keep an eye out for other ads or under-handed tactics like this, and reporting on them in the comments of this post, on our Facebook page, or by tweeting at us.
- Join other concerned citizens at one of the upcoming "Citizen Hearings" on reducing carbon pollution, and let us know if you see any other shady activities from Big Coal.Below are the events planned for June:
- Pittsburgh -- June 14th, afternoon at the Pittsburgh City Council Chambers
- Philadelphia -- June 19, 2012 5pm-8pm at the Philadelphia City Hall Council Chambers
- Cincinnati -- June 5th, 7-9pm at the Workforce Development Center, Evendale Campus, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
- Cleveland -- June 6, 6-8pm at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Rare Book Room
- Newport News -- June 11th, 6-8pm at the Pearl Bailey Library
- Richmond -- June 21th, time TBD at the Virginia Capital Building
**Dates and times are subject to change