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Gas industry funding highlights Sierra Club hypocrisy

February 3, 2012
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[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The admission by the Sierra Club that it took $26 million from the natural gas industry to fund its long running anti-coal campaign explains a lot. Now we know why this so-called ‘independent’ organization has been such an advocate for another form of fossil fuel and against using cutting-edge technology that would make using coal to generate electricity just as clean  as natural gas.

“The Sierra Club used secret gas industry funding to actively work to suppress the building of hundreds of next-generation coal-fired power plants across the country, plants which would significantly reduce emissions of mercury and other harmful substances.

“By doing so, the Sierra Club was able to continue to point to the higher emissions levels from aging plants that were not being replaced like they were supposed to be, which played into the false notion that coal can’t be used cleanly.

“But this campaign also means that the very people the Sierra Club says it wants to help will continue to be exposed to higher levels of mercury and other emissions – levels that would not occur if the new generation of coal-fired plants are built.

“They’ve cynically put people at risk for years to come with this campaign, and made themselves little more than tools of an energy industry competitor in the bargain. Let’s get real here: Just like any business, the gas companies are about selling gas, period. And they will gladly funnel cash to any organization that will help them do it.

“If the Sierra Club really wanted to make a long-term, positive impact for our nation’s energy future, it would support all potential ways to generate electricity cleanly and in a carbon-neutral way. The next generation of clean-burning coal-fired power plants, combined with the wide-spread deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, is one of those.

“Instead of merely being a knee-jerk shill for a competing industry, the Sierra Club would do well to take a step toward joining with those of us who seek not just a cleaner, but also a more stable and secure long-term energy future for our children and grandchildren.”

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