Black Cross Movement Against Coal
In in the early fall of 2010 a new movement arose across the southeastern United States called the Black Cross Alliance. The covert group, reportedly formed during the event called Appalachia Rising that took place in Washington DC, announced their plans in September 2010 to construct symbolic black crosses at coal mining and coal-burning landmarks across the country to serve as a public warning that it was no acceptable of the current President Obama administration, as well as state and local officials, to embrace coal mining and coal-burning as a legitimate way to produce energy.
Actions by Black Cross Alliance
The group planted black crosses in front of headquarters of Peabody Energy and Ameren, as well as a PNC Financial Services Group, which funds coal production, calling out the growing death toll related to coal mining and coal burning policies. As of October 2010, members of the group erected crosses at sites in Kentucky, Washington DC, Illinois and Missouri.
In November 2010 the Black Cross Alliance planted symbolic black crosses in front of the Navajo Nation's Kayenta Mine in New Mexcio, operated by Peabody Energy, which was named in the spring of 2010 as one of the most dangerous mines in the country.
Opposition to Black Cross Alliance
In early October 2010 the utility-fronted group Affordable Power Alliance criticized the Black Cross Alliance, stating:
- Are these people crazy? Are they so disconnected from reality that they don’t understand how vital coal is to jobs, living standards, civil rights progress and life itself?
- How else can anyone react to a new environmentalist campaign to erect black crosses at coal mines and coal-fired power plants, to symbolize their opposition to this vital energy source? The Black Cross Alliance (BCA) is little more than another sordid campaign against affordable energy, especially hydrocarbons. Its policies are misguided at best, harmful and even lethal at worst.
According to Sue Sturgis of The Institute for Southern Studies, civil rights advocate and former Democratic state senator from Alabama, Charles Steele Jr., cited statistics from the Affordable Power Alliance during a proposed coal ash regulations in Charlotte, N.C. in September 2010. Sturgis wrote that Steele's group, Working People for Fair Energy, is part of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE). PACE is a 501(c)(4) that's based in Montgomery, Alabama and was incorporated in February 2009 by William D. Lineberry, an attorney with the Birmingham, Ala. office of Balch & Bingham.
Sturgis wrote that Balch & Bingham was "a firm that lobbies on behalf of the Southern Company and its Alabama Power subsidiary. Lineberry also serves on the tax committees of the Business Council of Alabama as well as Manufacture Alabama -- both of which are partners in PACE. PACE's other members include the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the IBEW System Council U-19, which represents 3,000 Alabama Power employees and is one of the largest member unions of the state AFL-CIO, another PACE partner."
Sturgis also wrote of the Affordable Power Alliance:
- Affordable Power Alliance led by conservative African-American Christian minister Harry R. Jackson Jr. APA in turn is affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality, founded in the 1940s as a civil rights organization but which in more recent years has supported anti-environmental initiatives such as expanded oil drilling while accepting money from Exxon Mobil and other corporations. "Coal and natural gas are the new civil rights battleground," CORE Chairman Roy Innis has said, "because without these sources, 'we' cannot enjoy this great society."
- "Imminent Danger: Black Cross Movement Hits Big Coal Giants and Global Forum in St. Louis and Midwest" Jeff Biggers, HuffingtonPost.com, October 2, 2010.
- "Climate Action and Black Crosses" Sparki, Rainforest Action Network.
- "Pattern of Violations: Black Cross Movement Calls Out Dangerous Navajo Coal Mines" Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post, November 4, 2010.
- "Black Crosses and Black Deaths" Harry Jackson, Jr. and Niger Innis, Family Security Matters, October 4, 2010
- "Industry wraps coal ash regulation fight in the mantle of civil rights" Sue Sturgis, Facing South, September 30, 2010.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Front groups
- Nonviolent direct actions against coal
- Coal moratorium
- Citizen groups working on coal issues
- Mountaintop removal
- Bryan Walsh, "Taking on King Coal," Time Magazine, 11/5/08
- Burning the Future: Coal in America documentary from writer/director David Novack on the conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.
- Erik Reece, "Moving Mountains. The battle for justice comes to the coal fields of Appalachia," Orion, January/February 2006.
- Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice (2006 feature-length video documentary)