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Pete Altman’s Blog

Joe Lucas and ACCCE: Wiping away coal's soot boogers

Pete Altman

Posted December 12, 2008 in Solving Global Warming

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UPDATE: After taking too many lumps, ACCCE pulls plug on Coal Caroler campaign! See details.

 

The latest attempt to soften coal's deadly, dangerous image has been drawing a lot of attention lately, and based on this ABC News story, probably not the kind of attention its backers were hoping for. The widely-ridiculed attempt by big coal front-group #1 - ACCCE - to charm us with a chorus of singing lumps of coal brings to mind their earlier charm offensive, their failed attempt to use kids to win our hearts for the world's dirtiest energy source.  

Backfire is a word that jumps to mind, but there's a better term for these coal industry pr accidents in my view: soot boogers. In informal industry parlance, a soot booger is a crusty buildup of stuff that is in coal, but didn't burn up in the boiler and is too heavy to float out of the smokestack - the soot. Big globs of it - the boogers - accumulate on the inside walls of the smokestack and have to be scraped off from time to time. Soot boogers are an undesirable by-product of burning coal.

The coal carolers project (and the thing with the kids) seems like a pr soot booger to me, an undesirable by-product from touting coal. And it kinda makes me wonder how Joe Lucas, vice president of communications for ACCCE and prominent face for the organization, will wipe away this pr soot booger.

And then it occurred to me that that is what Joe Lucas' job really is: using pr to wipe away our recognition of the soot boogers from our reliance on coal. There are a lot of them: deadly mining accidents, blowing up mountains to get the coal, air and water pollution, 24,000 deaths per year, global warming...

In fact, a little jingle came to mind as I wondered about this. To the tune of Jingle Bells:

 

Blowing lots of smoke

Through ads and websites too

No its not a joke

Joe Lucas just wants you

 

To believe in big coal's lies

From big coal's big front groups,

Despite the fact it is the most

polluting fuel in use.

 

In fact its such great stuff,

There's something special he'd like to do,

He wants to put a lump of coal in

a stocking just for you.

 

Jingle Joe, Jingle Joe,

How much does he pay?

To try to fool America that coal is the right way?

 

Jingle Joe, Jingle Joe,

Opinion he must sway,

Coal's deadly, dirty soot boogers he tries to scrub away.

 

 

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