Utility giant Progress Energy is the latest in a stream of companies to abandon the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the scandal-ridden coal-industry front group that has dirtied the debate on climate legislation. Progress Energy — “a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues,” serving 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida — quietly quit the group last year, following Duke Energy, Alstom, Alcoa, and First Energy in the exodus. Its move away from coal propaganda mirrors its recent decision to shut down coal plants and move to cleaner power:
Progress paid $1 million to ACCCE in 2008, putting the company among the group’s biggest contributors. But the company has been backing away from coal of late, announcing in December that they are shutting down 11 coal-fired power plants. Instead, they would move toward natural gas, a less greenhouse-gas intensive fuel source. A state paper hailed the move as evidence of “the beginning of the end of the era of cheap coal.”
Spending over $40 million a year to promote the “clean coal” myth, ACCCE has exploited veterans, covered up fraud, and promoted mountaintop removal as a solution to the “lack of flat space” in Appalachia.