Viridian Note 00194: Balanced Power OrgBruce Sterling [email@example.com]
(((Once again the reports are in as fast as I can type, and what a gratifying gush of data we have to show today. I confess I'm slightly disappointed to learn that Western Fuels Corp/Greening Earth and the Global Climate Coalition are merely tangentially involved in "Balanced Power," rather than actually just plain being "Balanced Power." But we'll keep looking for further incarnations of these orgs in the future.
(((Winner of the golden star is Jeremy Johnson, who dug deep enough to meet our request in Note 00193, ie, a smoking gun that directly links the "Balanced Power entity" with Greening Earth Society, Global Climate Coalition and Western Fuels Corp.)))
Re: Viridian Note 00193: Corporate Green FeudJeremy Johnson
The domain balancedenergy.org is owned by CEED, the Center for Energy and Economic Development (http://www.ceednet.org), which lists Western Fuels on their Board of Directors. Western Fuels in turn are listed as owning the domain greeningearthsociety.org.
Incidentally westernfuels.org and ceednet.org are both hosted by the same ISP, although this might just be a coincidence. It all looks very cosy though.
(((Here's where it starts getting tasty.)))
From: Highly Placed Source at US Justice Department
"Dear Bruce == Your buddies from "Balanced Energy" seem to be joined at the hip with CEED. The "position paper" at http://www.balancedenergy.org/culprit.htm, entitled "The Culprits Behind Those Shocking Electricity Prices" is by one Linda Stuntz, who has published a number of similar screeds at the CEED site. In fact, the two sites share significant genetic code, including the topic headings "Essential" "Affordable", and my favorite == "Increasingly Clean." They also seem to have exactly the same groovy little state map telling you how much you pay in your state for electricity, and why.
reveals the following guys:
Charles McCrary, President of Generation for Southern Company, serves as the Chairman of CEED's Board of Directors; and Steven Leer, President and CEO of Arch Coal, Inc., serves as Vice Chairmen.
Stephen L. Miller serves as CEED's President and CEO. He directs the CEED staff, which is comprised of 15 full-time employees, and oversees an annual budget of $5 million. CEED's National Office is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and four regional offices are located in New Jersey, Missouri, Texas, and Colorado.
Perhaps a Viridian greenhouse denial org chart/genealogy would be in order. I'm having a little trouble following all the players here. (((An excellent suggestion, Highly Place Source! I sense a Viridian Design Contest coming up!)))
I will try to do a little follow-up, but this morning, I have to go sue some polluters.
(((Good luck! Always good to hear from you!)))
(((And now, a spectacular plethora of info from the hard-working Carol A. Bourgeois (cbourgeo@TXFUND.COM^^^^^^^**)
CEED = ABECCarol_A._Bourgeois@TXFUND.COM
Here's a leadership nexus. The Center for Energy and Economic Development quoted CEED President Steve Miller in an article dissing studies supporting global warming and cautioning against adoption of Kyoto protocols:
"We caution policymakers to fully examine the evidence available regarding climate change and global climate modeling," said Steve Miller, CEED's President. "They will discover that these computer models have inherent flaws, and can neither explain the disparity between surface and lower atmospheric temperatures, nor can they predict long-term climate change based on short-term weather patterns. Indeed, many scientists maintain that GHG emissions from electric power plants are not contributing significantly to overall warming trends. Natural phenomena and other causes should not be ignored."
(((It's predictable yet interesting to learn that "Americans for Balanced Energy Choices" are not merely "pro-choice" on coal issues, but also climate denial freaks under another name.)))
The fact that CEED's national office is in Alexandria would come as no surprise, either. Note that the Chairman of the Board of CEED is a big wheel in the Southern Company. That would be the ever expanding, monopolistic Southern Company, as in "Southern Union Gas."
(((In other words, we Texans here in the territory of Southern Union Gas are underwriting Balanced Power's ad budget whenever we pay a gas bill. Ever wonder where they got enough money to go head-to-head with BP in the corporate-green wars? Simple! They got that money from you!)))
You see, petroleum products expand during very hot weather. They require more storage volume, resulting in reduced product delivery. Therefore, global warming hits the energy suppliers/shippers right in the pocketbook. So in their actual operations, they are forced to acknowledge global warming, though in an unhelpful way.
(((As a final gift, Carol Bourgeois sends us this helpful article from a Texan muckraking political journal, the Texas Observer. Here we see CEED/ABEC at work, a wonderful insight into the everyday world of corporate spin.)))
"Find Another Farmer
"If you watch TV or read glossy magazines, sometime
this month you'll probably see a commercial featuring a
smiling farmer (joined by a slew of barbers, soccer moms,
and other denizens of Main Street America) sharing his
thoughts about coal.
"His warm, fuzzy, good thoughts. It won't be a real
farmer, of course == it'll be an actor. And it won't be
this actor, Austinite Brady Coleman. Coleman, known for
his film work (he was the sheriff in "What's Eating
Gilbert Grape") and his commercials (in which he usually
plays an amiable Texan), was the man Coal wanted for the
part. But Coleman didn't want Coal.
"'I was really busy that day and my agent told me
to go in and read for a commercial,' Coleman said. The
title of the spot was 'Americans for Balanced Energy
Choices == no mention of coal. "I didn't pay that much
attention to it, you know == it could have been solar or
wind or something,' said Coleman, who has been a member of
the Sierra Club for thirty years. 'Two or three days later
my agent calls me and says, 'You got the part.'
"Still not having seen the ad's script, he started to
get a little suspicious about just who these Americans
were. 'My agent really didn't know ... and the casting
director didn't know == she was just doing her job.' So
Coleman called the production company, who finally told
him what he'd be hawking: coal.
"'I uncasted myself,' Coleman said. Coleman got in
touch with a Sierra Club official in Texas, who had never
heard of the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. After
talking to Coleman, Left Field began calling the usual
"The Greening Earth Society (the Washington non-profit that promotes the beneficial aspects of global warming) couldn't help us, but the Society's receptionist did save us a phone call to the Western Fuels Association (the giant Rocky Mountain strip-mining outfit) that was next on our list.
(((You see, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not making this
stuff up. If you punch just one layer down to what's
actually happening, it's dead obvious to everybody.)))
"'Ned's at lunch right now,' he said. Apparently the two
groups share an office in D.C. Go figure. (((They don't
"share an office," for heaven's sake. They're the same
operation. More to the point, "Greening Earth" and
"Western Fuels" are the same guy == Fred Palmer.)))
"Next we tried the Center for Energy and Economic
Development, another coal industry front group, where we
finally got the response we were looking for. 'It is a
registered non-profit,' spokesman Joe Lucas said. Coal
related? 'I do not have an answer for that at this time.'
"Two hours later Lucas called back: "[Americans for
Balanced Energy Choices] is a national non-profit whose
mission is to promote a national dialogue with community
leaders about the growing demand for electricity and about
preserving the proper balance between the environment and
continued growth.' (((Good luck fitting that on a T-
"Lucas confirmed that the primary sponsors are coal
producers, railroads, and electric utilities. He denied
that any specific issue == such as the controversial
practice of mountaintop removal mining currently being
debated in Congress == was behind the timing of the coming
ad blitz. But the blitz is coming.
"'You'll be hearing a whole lot more in the weeks ahead,' he said. Back in Austin, meanwhile, there is one less casting director Brady Coleman will be working with. 'She was extremely pissed off. Because the time to do that [back out] is before you even audition. But it was just so innocuous sounding,' Coleman said. 'I mean if it had been hemorrhoids or tobacco or Bush or something I would have just said no straight off.'"
(((Meanwhile, in digital-activist land:)))
BalancedEnergy.org info"Malcolm H. Teas" (firstname.lastname@example.org^^^*)
I was curious what I could dig up on BE, so I researched their tracks on the 'net. Their domain's registered to:
CEED 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 370 Alexandria, VA 22314
This is the same address as the CEED or Center for Energy and Economic Development at <http://www.ceednet.org> on the web. They also list the same phone and fax. Their domain was create on 13 March of this year.
(((Merely March 13, huh? Any bets on how long this phantom stays in business? I'm betting they shut down pronto after the USA's November 02000 elections, but that could just be me and my uncharitable suspicions.)))
CEED is very nice about listing their history at http://www.ceednet.org/about_ceed/history.htm
and their membership at
On that latter page there are links to lists of CEED's
contributing and associate members.
I don't know what kind of server they're running. The
machine appears to be in Interland's Atlanta data center.
Their site shows hallmarks of being developed on Windows
by people more comfortable with Windows than UNIX.
The site looks reasonably competent. I don't the
silly mistakes of the novice. That just means they put
some funding behind it. Besides their webserver, they're
running mail, ftp, secure mail, and secure web servers.
The upshot is that CEED/ABEC is an organization of companies devoted to mining, shipping, and using coal. Not big Kyoto supporters. But, I think we guessed that already.
(((Another web-approach hits paydirt.)))
RE: Viridian Note 00193: Corporate Green Feud"Ian M. Atlas" (email@example.com^^*)))
"Arch Coal, Peabody Group, Kennecott Energy, DTE Energy (Detroit Edison) and Southern Company have formed a lobbying group called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). Some rural co-ops also belong to ABEC. The organization wants to raise awareness that coal generates half of the electricity in the U.S. The PR campaign will explain '...the now-hidden truths about electricity from coal: it is essential, affordable and increasingly clean.'"
(((I really think they need to work on that slogan. Very few ad-models would willingly wear a T-shirt that says "Essential, Affordable and Increasingly Clean.")))
(((This one's short but to the point. Thanks for this Euro connection in particular, since Euro-Viridians might get to feeling all virtuous about all this corny American lobbying corruption.)))
Re: Viridian Note 00193: Corporate Green FeudR Michael Harman (firstname.lastname@example.org^^^^^***)
Connecting balancedpower.org to other corporate entities:
http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntn02191.htm Gives some specific companies involved.
http://www.texasobserver.org/00_04_28/000428_left_field.htm Details the Texas Observer's attempts to locate the backers.
http://www.energy-coal-eur.com/Various/links.htm Demonstrates that some European coal industrialists are involved too == this is the "Euriscoal" website, and they have a friendly link exchange going.
http://www.shankpr.com/david.htm The PR man for ABEC.
(((Last but not least, a veritable landslide of coal-dirt from the highly-decorated L. J. Aurbach.)))
ABEC Background"Laurence Aurbach Jr."
1. Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntn02191.htm
Steve Miller is President of ABEC. Who is Steve Miller?
Center for Energy and Economic Development http://www.ceednet.org/about_ceed/leadership.htm
2. West Virgina Highlands Conservancy http://jupiter.drw.net/wvhc/VoiceMay00/HastyCol.May00Voice.htm
On April 20th, a small item from the Associated Press announced that "a new nonprofit group backed by coal companies, utilities that burn coal and railroads is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign aimed at promoting electricity from coal." In the grand tradition of deceptively-named industry front groups posing as concerned citizens (an $800 million industry in the US where, as a leading public relations firm tells clients, "technology makes building volunteer organizations as simple as writing a check") the new group is called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. Sponsors include such West Virginia powerhouses as A.T. Massey Coal, Consol Energy, Peabody Group, and Arch Coal, whose mountaintop removal operation at Pigeonroost Hollow was the subject of the Haden lawsuit.
3. Western Interstate Energy Board Coal News http://www.westgov.org/wieb/news/coal00.htm
Arch Coal, Peabody Group, Kennecott Energy, DTE Energy (Detroit Edison) and Southern Company have formed a lobbying group called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). Some rural co-ops also belong to ABEC. The organization wants to raise awareness that coal generates half of the electricity in the U.S. The PR campaign will explain "...the now-hidden truths about electricity from coal: it is essential, affordable and increasingly clean."
4. Coal Age http://www.coalage.com/news.html
Representatives of America's coal-based electricity industry == coal producers, railroads, and coal-fired electric utilities == have joined together in a campaign to educate American people about the need to balance the nation's growing demand for electricity with the obligation to protect the environment, said the National Mining Association (NMA). ABEC's sponsors, many of whom are NMA members, want to change that perception through public dialogue to ensure that coal remains a vital part of the U.S. energy mix.
5. One of ABEC's strengths is their alliances with agrobusiness and manufacturers (particularly in Rust Belt
states with large steel producers)
Colorado Farm Bureau Newsline for July 28, 2000 http://www.colofb.com/NEWS/breaking.htm
Colorado Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau have teamed up with the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (www.balancedenergy.org) which is a national, nonprofit organization designed to promote dialogue with community leaders across the U.S. in issues involving America’s growing demand for electricity.
Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association http://www.pamanufacturers.org/bulletins/press/press_release_7_11_00.html
"Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), a national grassroots program, believes that the formation of a national energy policy that addresses the nation's growing demand for electricity with the need to protect the environment is both possible and necessary. We strongly support the efforts of this group, as I believe the end result will be less reliance on imported, expensive energy sources and more affordable energy for all Americans." == Jim Panyard, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association
6. David L. Shank, APR == President Shank Public Relations
Counselors, Inc., a leading Midwest public relations firm. Supervising and conducting media relations for Americans for Balanced Energy Choices
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