As you probably know, the Yes Lab (home of the Yes Men) recently put up a site called CoalCares.com, a parody suggesting that coal company Peabody is interested in doing something about the health impacts of coal on children. (How dare they!)
Peabody responded, predictably, by threatening a lawsuit.
Here’s the letter the Yes Lab just sent in return:
Dear Andrew Baum, Foley Lardner LLP, and Peabody Energy,
Thank you for your thoughtful letter demanding that we remove Peabody’s name from www.coalcares.org and cease falsely suggesting that Peabody cares about kids made sick by coal.
Your threat, although entirely baseless (see this response, and the EFF’s blog post later today), did make us realize one thing: that Peabody, despite being our country’s largest coal producer, and one of the largest lobbyists against common-sense policy, accounts for a mere 17% of U.S. coal production. The remaining 83% comes from 28 other companies, who are, every bit as much as Peabody, giving kids asthma attacks and other illnesses.
As even you may agree, the root of the problem is not Peabody, but rather our system of subsidies, regulations, and lobbying that lets your whole industry continue its lethal work. To make this clear, we have changed every instance of the word “Peabody” on www.coalcares.org to a rotating selection of the names of other large U.S. coal producers who, like Peabody, also need to be stopped from killing kids.
Very truly yours,
Coal is Killing Kids and the Yes Lab
P.S. You suggest in your letter that “Peabody has a First Amendment right not to be involved with the dissemination of a message with which it does not agree,” a statement which, while completely untrue, does recall the World Resources Institute’s longstanding demand that you cease falsely attributing to them the nonsense statistic that “for every 10-fold increase in per-capita energy use, individuals live 10 years longer.” As the WRI notes:
First, WRI has never made such an assertion and has never done analysis to that effect. Second, this conclusion ignores critical factors related to energy production and human health. WRI’s longstanding support for a global transition to cleaner, low-carbon energy is well-documented.
We would be grateful if you would stop misquoting WRI and issue a corrective statement within the next 24 hours.