While Feds Fund Coal Miner Re-Training, Conservatives Lie in Ads

Sick and tired of misinformation and outright lies on the part of conservatives and fossil fuel interests, 24 environmental groups are petitioning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove ads airing on radio stations that falsely attack EPA’s power plant regulations. 

FCC has advised broadcasters to ensure ads on their stations are not false, but despite repeated requests, 23 radio stations in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Michigan, Indiana and Colorado refuse to pull the ads, paid for by the National Mining Association. 

The ad, which shows a women shocked as she opens her electric bill, says she’ll pay 80% more on electricity if the regulations go through.  It earned four Pinocchios from Washington Post fact checkers, their top falsehood rating, finding it "wholly unsupported" and "bogus."

Climate Radio Ad

It is based on a similarly misleading press release issued by congressional Republicans, reports Grist. "This is a case study of how a trade group takes a snippet of congressional testimony and twists it out of proportion for political purposes," says the Washington Post.

The press release refers to a House subcommittee meeting on Department of Energy clean coal programs. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal, Dr. Julio Friedmann said, for "first generation technologies [carbon capture and sequestration], there would be something like a 70-80% increase on the wholesale price of electricity, but in part, that’s because the current price of coal is so low."

Coal Miner Actors

Meanwhile, the same fake background Romney used during his presidential campaign is rearing its head again. One of Romney’s ads that accused President Obama of "ruining the coal industry" showed him backed by coal miners.

Coal Miners

But those coal miners weren’t there willingly – their employer, Murray Energy, mandated their attendance during their free time without even being paid. They were also forced into donating to Romney’s campaign!

Now, Mitch McConnell is using that same fake background to attack EPA’s power plant regulations. On his campaign Facebook page, the "Romney miners" are back!, prominently displayed above the headline "Who do you side with," implying that voters have a choice between mining jobs and costly regulations, reports Think Progress.

Here what is actually happening: On June 4, the US Department of Labor, with strong bipartisan support, announced $7.5 million in a National Emergency Grant to fund job training and job search assistance for Kentucky mine workers that are laid off. It brings the total of federal help to $11.3 million for Kentucky alone.

Governor Beshear (D-KY) is promoting the Shaping our Appalachian Region (SOAR), which would re-orient the state’s economy through investments in high-speed broadband, transportation infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewables.

Coal jobs have been trending down for decades, having nothing to do with climate regulations. Aging plants with outdated technology have closed and the industry has moved to mechanized mountaintop mining, which requires fewer workers by the thousands. Add in cheap natural gas, a rise in energy efficiency and a slow economy and there’s less demand for coal.

Here’s the letter to the FCC, which lists the signatories:

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