If you live in Texas, you’ll have heard about how the coal-based energy utilities want to build a lot of new power plants to meet expected demand without massive power cuts, but are facing opposition from environmental activists. Well, some good investigative reporting from Asher Price of the Austin American-Statesman has uncovered what those on the Left like to call an “astroturf” campaign by Big Gas:
Masquerading as activists battling coal plants, Big Gas is squaring off against Big Coal in a polished campaign run by a Hollywood ad agency.
Natural gas companies, calling themselves the Texas Clean Sky Coalition, have been fighting coal plant proposals with full-page advertisements in the state’s major daily newspapers.
Where’s the campaign being run from? Why, California:
The campaign has cost “north of a million dollars,” according to Fred Davis III, the head of Hollywood agency Strategic Perception, which put the campaign together. The photos were shot in a Southern California studio, he said.
The environmental groups are quite happy with their new ally:
The Clean Sky Coalition Web site includes newspaper stories about coal-fired power plants, informs readers about a rally against the coal plants on Sunday at the Capitol and points readers in the direction of Environmental Defense and the Sierra Club.
Neither group said it receives money from the Clean Sky Coalition or even knew what it is.
“Whether the money is coming from environmentalists, businessmen or competitors, we’re glad they’re fighting,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith of the watchdog group Public Citizen. “Without help from everyone in the state, we won’t be able to stop the coal plants.”
Or out of the state, as the case may be…