Sierra Club Spends Big $$$ on Coal Ash Hearings

            Environmental activists like to portray themselves as Davids battling corporate Goliaths, but they are clearly the big spenders during public hearings on proposed Environmental Protection Agency coal ash disposal rules.

            A full page full color advertisement in the Denver Post was purchased by the Sierra Club on September 1 – the day before an EPA public hearing in that city.  Based on the Post’s published advertising rates for national non-profit organizations, that one-time ad would have cost $42,971.11.

            The ad (shown below) depicts a baby drinking from a bottle with the words “Mercury Arsenic Selenium Lead” floating inside.  The headline proclaims: “Ignoring the risks of toxic coal ash could come at a high cost – our children.”

            The ad is just the latest in a series of big budget scare tactics undertaken by the Sierra Club.  The group has made obtaining a “hazardous waste” designation for coal ash one of its highest priorities.

            On its web site promoted by the newspaper ad, the Sierra Club misleads its followers with statements like: “The EPA is holding a public comment period on new, federally enforceable standards to protect Americans, but the coal industry is fighting back, trying to put their profits before our health.”  In fact, the coal industry has endorsed the adoption of new federal standards for coal ash disposal and is not the one taking out glossy full-page advertisements before the hearings.

            Furthermore, the Sierra Club misleads its followers by asking them to advocate for “stronger” regulation under Subtitle C, without disclosing that the landfill engineering standards being proposed by EPA are essentially THE SAME under a Subtitle D proposal that would not unnecessarily label coal ash as “hazardous waste” and potentially destroy recycling activities that result in millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions reductions every year.  In fact, the Sierra Club never discloses to its followers that coal ash CAN be safely recycled with tremendous benefits to our environment.

            If the Sierra Club was truly interested in doing the right thing for the environment, it would support policies that encourage safe coal ash recycling as a preferred alternative to disposal.  But ads with pictures of bridges that last longer probably don’t generate the same kind of membership support. After all, money for the next $43,000 ad is going to have to come from somewhere…

Posted by: on: Sep 07, 2010 @ 01:23