Coal companies and the nation’s biggest railroad association accounted for 50 percent of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s (ACCCE) $47 million budget in 2008, according to ACCCE’s tax return, E&E News reported on Wednesday. Yowza!

Arch Coal, Peabody, and Consol each put in $5 million; Foundation Coal put in just $3 million. Meanwhile, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) put in $6 million. AAR represents major railroads including Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern, which get substantial portions of their revenues from hauling coal. 

ACCCE opposed the Waxman-Markey climate bill, and recently Duke Energy left the group because of its entrenched opposition to meaningful climate legislation.

I recently looked closely at the ACCCE board of directors, many of which are named in the E&E story along with their contributions to the group. It is interesting to note how many board members ACCCE shares with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, especially in the coal and rail sectors. And of course, I’ve discussed U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue’s connections with Union Pacific before. And we noticed that U.S. Chamber Executive Committee member and immediate past Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Chamber (i.e., Donohue’s boss last year) is Donald J. Shepard, who sits on the board of directors of CSX.

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E&E also reported on the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) tax return, noting that the group spent about $75 million on public relations and advertising in 2008. API has been a vocal opponent of climate legislation for a long time, including repeated investments in misinformation and Astroturf campaigns. This past summer, API bankrolled the faux group “Energy Citizens” which organized a number of anti-climate legislation public events around the country.

It’s a lot of money to spend for the right to keep the U.S. stuck with dirty energy sources that are warming the planet and melting the glaciers. Speaking of melting glaciers, check out this remarkably prescient ad from Humble Oil, which formed several building blocks of what eventually became known as ExxonMobil.

Talk about truth in advertising.

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Why should you buy their product? Because each day, they produce enough oil to melt 7 tons of glacier! Ok, it is from 1962, so its not like global warming was front-page news. On the other hand, it was just two years before President Lyndon B. Johnson noted: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through … a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels” in a special message to Congress.)

This post originally appeared on Pete’s Switchboard blog.

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