Affordable Power Alliance
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Affordable Power Alliance (APA) describes itself as "an ad hoc coalition of civil rights, African American, Latino, small business, senior citizens and faith-based advocacy organizations." According to its website: "The mission of the Alliance is [at] heart a humanitarian one. Thousands of Americans become sick and die each year because [of] high energy costs that prevent them from adequately heating or cooling their homes; buying the medicines they need; and practicing better health prevention measures."
The group is led by conservative African-American Christian minister Harry R. Jackson Jr. APA is affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality, founded in the 1940s as a civil rights organization but which in more recent years has supported anti-environmental initiatives such as expanded oil drilling while accepting money from ExxonMobil and other corporations. "Coal and natural gas are the new civil rights battleground," CORE Chairman Roy Innis has said, "because without these sources, 'we' cannot enjoy this great society."
Fighting coal waste regulations
On Sep. 14, 2010, Dr. Charles Steele Jr. of the Working People for Fair Energy (WPFE) testified against coal ash regulation at a North Carolina EPA hearing on the issue, claiming that the costs would disproportionately burden the most economically vulnerable Americans. The research cited by Steele in his account of his EPA testimony came from APA.
On its website, WPFE says it is part of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE), a 501(c)(4) that describes itself as "a coalition of working people, business owners, environmentalists, and trade organizations who are fighting for fair, responsible energy policies" but lists as its "Official Partners" the Alabama Pulp & Paper Council, Manufacture Alabama, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. PACE was incorporated in February 2009 by William D. Lineberry, an attorney with the Birmingham, Alabama office of Balch & Bingham -- a firm that lobbies on behalf of the Southern Company and its Alabama Power subsidiary. PACE's other members include the Chamber of Commerce divisions in Alabama and Tennessee, and the IBEW System Council U-19, which represents 3,000 Alabama Power employees.
Dismissing protestors, calling coal a blessing
In an October 4, 2010 posting on a website calling itself "Family Security Matters," APA co-chairs Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Niger Innis dismissed the Black Cross Alliance (BCA), a movement that lays black crosses at coal mines, strip mines, coal-fired plants, and coal ash sites to make visible the harm from coal. APA called the BCA "little more than another sordid campaign against affordable energy, especially hydrocarbons" asking, "Are they so disconnected from reality that they don’t understand how vital coal is to jobs, living standards, civil rights progress, and life itself?"
The post continues: "When we see the Black Crosses, we need to remember the blessings of coal-based electricity: the economic uplift, the enhanced quality of life it provides for millions of working class Americans of every color. When we think of groups like the Black Cross Alliance and their undue influence over energy and economic policy, we need to remember the pain of rising unemployment and poverty in America. We need to remember the needless deaths of millions every year in the mostly black and brown developing world, due to radical environmentalist campaigns against energy and economic development."
The post also turned the environmental justice implications of coal into a positive thing: "America needs coal. Half of our nation’s electricity is generated with coal. Moreover, as National Black Chamber of Commerce president Harry Alford has pointed out, 86% of all African Americans live within 700 miles of Nashville, TN – many of them in states that get half to nearly all their electricity from coal."
The Affordable Power Alliance
730 West Cheyenne Avenue
North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Coal waste
- Front groups
- Patrick Moore appearances
- Patrick Moore on nuclear power
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
- Working People for Fair Energy
- Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy, "About Us", The Affordable Power Alliance website, accessed October 2010.
- Sue Sturgis, "SPECIAL REPORT: Industry wraps coal ash regulation fight in the mantle of civil rights" Facing South, September 30, 2010.
- Jeff Biggers, "BREAKING: Mass Arrests in DC: We Shall No Longer Be Crucified Upon the Cross of Coal (PHOTOS)" HuffPo, Sep. 27, 2010.
- Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Niger Innis, "Black Crosses and Black Deaths" Family Security Matters, October 4, 2010.
- Cosby Woodruff, "Greenpeace founder claims group now energy inefficient," Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama), May 21, 2009.
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