FACES of Coal
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
FACES of Coal, which stands for Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security, is a coal industry front group. The group, which is affiliated with West Virginia Coal Association front group Friends of Coal, launched in August 2009 with the following four-pronged mission statement:
*to campaign for the economic prosperity coal provides through good jobs and affordable energy;
* to protect the nation’s security and tradition of self-reliance through the use of coal, the most abundant and affordable domestic source of energy;
* to preserve the environment by promoting good stewardship of our natural resources; and
* to strengthen communities by advancing technologies that mine coal using safe and environmentally and economically responsible mining methods.
FACES of Coal is one of several groups attempting to gain support for the coal industry, while environmental groups continue to stage protests against coal in West Virginia and elsewhere, and climate change legislation works its way through Congress.
Group membership unclear
FACES of Coal claims its membership includes 70 different coal and non-coal organizations, businesses, and individuals, including representatives of the tourism industry and state and county governments. However, its website provides no list of members. The group describes itself as "an alliance of people from all walks of life" and a "grassroots movement" to communicate the importance of coal in the U.S. to legislators and the general public. However, the "faces" featured on the group’s website -- including a woman working at a flower shop, a boy playing golf with his father, a family walking with a baby by a white picket fence, a fireman, and a grandmother waving an American flag -- turned out to be royalty-free stock photos from a company called iStockphoto.
- "FACES of Coal Plans to Highlight Industry’s Importance," WVNS-TV, August 20, 2009.
- About Us, FACES of Coal, accessed August 2009.
- Michelle Saxton, "Another pro-coal group enters the energy debate, Charleston Daily Mail, August 20, 2009.
- FACES of Coal, accessed August 2009.
- "FACES of Coal Campaign Launches in Charleston," FACES of Coal, August 19, 2009.
- Kate Sheppard, "Who are the faces behind FACES of Coal?," Grist, August 20, 2009.
- "FACES of Coal are iStockPhotos?!," Appalachian Voices Front Porch Blog, August 26, 2009.