WASHINGTON: The US coal industry is pushing back against the energy plan that President Barack Obama revealed last week, saying it unfairly targets mining companies.
Last Tuesday, Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to develop carbon pollution standards for existing power plants as part of his plan to combat climate change.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity said that 15% of its member plants are planning to close because of existing EPA rules and more will follow if the federal government introduces additional policies.
The industry trade group has planned a digital, grassroots, and earned media push that will focus on coal's contributions to the US economy and its reduced environmental footprint through the use of new technology, said Lisa Camooso Miller, VP for media relations at the coalition. It will also concentrate on what its members feel the US government should do to achieve a balanced energy policy.
In coming weeks, the group will conduct sustained media engagement, with its officers and members taking advantage of speaking opportunities. It will also reach out to traditional and nontraditional allies with the goal of more than doubling its followers by the end of the year.
The coalition's outreach will mostly target the Washington DC metro area this month and move outside the Beltway in August. Agency partners JDA Frontline and DCI Group are providing guidance on the initiative, Miller said.
In the six days since Obama unveiled his climate change plan, administration officials have countered claims that the president has launched a “war on coal,” as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said last week. The strategy would place a number of new regulations on power plants.
The National Mining Association has also increased its outreach to spread the word about members' concerns through radio spots, social media, traditional media outreach, and grassroots marketing, focusing on states where coal is mined. The organization is using its Count on Coal website to organize grassroots participation and encourage visitors to sign a petition supporting the coal industry and join its email list.
Public affairs shop Weber Merritt is helping the trade group with the campaign.
“The administration ignores economic reality and the impact its policies will have on jobs,” said Luke Popovich, VP of external communications for the group. “Our argument isn't with climate science; it's with the administration's proposals for addressing it.”