Coal Lobby Gets Down and Dirty

"It's our job to keep coal at the table. It's not there now," said Bob Henrie, a principal in the Salt Lake-based advertising and public relations firm R&R Partners. In September last year, Henrie's firm won the contract with the National Mining Association and other mining industry lobby groups to develop a $35 million advertising campaign aimed at improving the coal mining industry's image. The ads are being run by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), a front group which initially had its domain name registered by the coal industry trade organization, the Center for Energy and Economic Development. Late last year an analysis of ABEC's claims, published by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, accused the front group of having a "dirty agenda," running "dirty ads" and using "dirty political targeting" to promote "dirty lies." In his biographical note, Henrie boasts that he was once the chief of staff of the House Mines and Mining Subcommittee which involved him working "to protect vital mining legislation."