In a massive whitewashing campaign of the most callous kind, Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.
A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”
Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the . Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, .greatest effect on poor countries according to the American Lung Association
Burson-Marsteller, the world’s largest PR firm, and its subsidiary, Proof Integrated Communications, are working behind the scenes on Peabody’s PR effort. Burson-Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco confirmed to The Huffington Post that the company is working on behalf of Peabody. Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said “Burson-Marsteller and several other firms are providing support for the campaign.”
Burson-Marsteller has a long history of working on PR campaigns that downplay or contradict established health concerns. The Guardian has described Burson-Marsteller as “the company that governments with poor human rights records and corporations in trouble with environmentalists have turned to when in crisis.”
The firm worked for Union Carbide after its poison gas disaster in Bhopal, India, killed 3,800 people in 1984. It has also worked on behalf of governments accused of human rights abuses, including Nigeria and Indonesia.
Environmental groups said Burson-Marsteller’s role in Peabody’s campaign isn’t surprising:
“Burson-Marstellar has spent decades working for some of the world’s worst perpetrators of human rights and environmental abuses,” said Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center. “So Burson-Marsteller are well suited to help Peabody push dirty coal to the world’s poorest people, at a time when everyone from the World Bank to the U.N. are warning us climate change will hit the poor first, and hardest.”
But, let us keep voting against government regulation of such things because they are so bad and socialist and take away our god-given freedoms as Americans (to be exploited…) blah blah blah yawn.
Yes, the government giving money to people so they can eat is a hand-outs and a giant waste of taxpayer money. And the government enacting policies and regulations that protect the air you breathe, the water you ingest, and the food you eat is, at best, nothing of value—and, at worst, a job-killing regulation that impedes the success of people who want to get rich dumping toxic waste into the ground, in the air and soil, food and water where people getting hand-outs live. Let them eat toxic-waste laced bootstraps.