Coal lobby responds to Facing South report on deceptive phone call

We received this communication today from Steve Gates, senior communication director of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a group that represents the interests of coal producers and coal-based utilities. He was commenting on our post from yesterday titled "Big Coal makes deceptive phone calls on climate change legislation," about a call a North Carolina environmental activist received from a related group called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices in which the caller wrongly denied any connection to utilities:

After reading your article, I decided to look into this matter and this is what I have been able to find out. In the instance mentioned in your post, one new staff member -- who is no longer working on this project -- decided to "wing it" when asked some questions that were off her script. This staff person clearly should have answered "Yes" when asked if ABEC was related to the utility industry.

While ABEC did merge with the Center for Energy and Economic Development to form ACCCE back in April of this year, our grassroots arm still operates under the ABEC name to reduce confusion to our more than 150,000 individual members some of whom have been members since ABEC's inception in 2000.

We only call only our membership, whom we have been communicating with over many years, about what ABEC is and what we stand for. Our policy is to always be open and upfront about who we are, what we do and what we advocate for. As you pointed out in your post, we go to great lengths to operate as transparently as possible on our website.

I hope this helps to add some clarity to the operations of our organization. I can always be reached for further information at

Steve Gates
ACCCE Senior Communications Director