Have you heard this message from your friendly neighborhood power company?
"Hello, this message is for Council Member Dan Besse.
My name is Tabitha, and I'm contacting you on behalf of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, a non-profit, non-partisan pro-coal group. We are contacting only elected officials today.
As an organization we need your input on the energy mix moving forward. We feel that clean coal technology should be a major part of this movement, but of course only you know what's best for you and your community.
If you agree that clean coal technology should play an important role in America's energy future, please contact me for additional information.
My direct toll-free number is 866-658-8334.
Thank you and have a great day."
Received Wednesday 2/27/08, 4:21 p.m. EST at 336-722-1674. Transcribed from answering machine tape. Background noise appears to be other voices making calls.
"Americans for Balanced Energy Choices" is an "astroturf" [fake grassroots] organization funded by the utilities and energy companies, previously best known in our state for its pro-nuclear power campaigns. Among other strategies, ABEC will send representatives to public hearings, portraying themselves as concerned citizens speaking for a citizen group, and not revealing ABEC's funding sources.
It has apparently started a new marketing effort in North Carolina aimed at elected officials. The timing of this "pro-coal" message may relate to recent public advocacy in North Carolina in opposition to the permitting or construction of new coal-fired power plants. For further details on ABEC, see http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_Balanced_Energy_Choices. (If this link doesn't work, cut and paste in your browser.)
I'd encourage folks to warn your local elected officials about this slick industry lobbying effort. Don't be fooled!