Last week, America’s Power kicked off our state policy event series with an exciting discussion on the future of energy in Arkansas. Held at the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock, the event featured political and policy thought leaders, elected officials and members of the private sector community.
Mayor Tom Stodola provided opening remarks, highlighting Little Rock’s recent energy efficiency efforts and projects. Then, moderator Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics took the stage with Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton for a discussion about EPA’s carbon regulations and their potential impact on the state of Arkansas. During his remarks, Rep. Cotton emphasized the importance of coal and clean coal technology to Arkansas’ economy, noting the devastating impact EPA’s regulations would have on the state’s businesses and families.
Following Rep. Cotton’s address, a panel of experts discussed Arkansas energy policy, engaging in a lively debate on a range of issues. The event also included a question and answer period that featured a variety of viewpoints from our audience members.
I am looking forward to our next two events, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 13 and Denver, Colorado later in the month. We have some great panelists lined up, and I hope that many of you will be able to join us! You can also follow the events on Twitter – we will be using the hashtag #RCPOnTheTrail and tweeting from @AmericasPower. Stay tuned for more details!
Can you believe September is already coming to a close? With the NASCAR season winding down, our contest to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Miami races this November is in its final days.
Dale Jr. is a business owner who understands the importance of affordable, reliable coal-fueled electricity to keep the lights on, meet payroll and continue growing and hiring at his company, JR Motorsports.
Check out this video of Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller on the importance of affordable electricity:
We had another tremendous year partnering with JR Motorsports, and we’re excited to give our America’s Power supporters an opportunity to meet Dale Jr. in person. Visit www.AmericasPower.org/meet-dale before September 30th to enter to win an all-expense paid trip to meet Dale Jr. in Miami!
And for everything you don’t know (but should know) about Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports, check out our recent article on BuzzFeed.
Joliet, Illinois is home to the Chicagoland Speedway, where the race track can be found among hundreds of acres of beautiful, Midwestern farmland. The America’s Power booth was in full swing during this weekend’s NASCAR races there, and since we weren’t ready to feel the effects of fall just yet, the sun came out for us to have a wonderful time and a great weekend of racing.
The action kicked off on Saturday with the Nationwide races, where we proudly cheered on the #7 Clean Coal car to a top ten finish. I spent the day at the America’s Power booth, which was positively overflowing with people wanting to learn more about the coal industry. Being able to interact with every visitor – hearing their stories or answering their questions about America’s Power – is by far my favorite aspect of working at our display. One supporter we met was excited to promote the use of coal with his America’s Power t-shirt, and was eager to wear it to his job as an electrical engineer.
While it’s bittersweet that Chicagoland was my last race of 2014, I’m grateful to have met so many of our supporters over the course of the year. It’s meaningful to hear directly from those affected by EPA’s carbon regulations and know that we are doing the right thing. Our EPA comment tool received more than 3,000 signatures from hardworking Americans just this weekend, and that is just the motivation I need to keep fighting for our coal communities.
Hi Behind the Plug readers! I recently joined ACCCE as senior director of communications, and I look forward to contributing to the Behind the Plug Blog. Here’s a short preview of what’s in store for us this weekend:
Today, the America’s Power team is heading to Joliet, Illinois for an exciting weekend of NASCAR racing at Chicagoland Speedway. We’re looking forward to cheering on Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Clean Coal Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide series, and meeting other members of the America’s Power team from around the country.
At our booth, we’ll be talking to supporters about the importance of coal-based power to fuel electricity in our homes and businesses. Coal provides nearly 43 percent of Illinois’ electricity and accounts for close to 39,000 jobs. Affordable, reliable power is especially critical to Illinois’ economy, as the state serves as a manufacturing hub with nearly 580,000 workers – or 10 percent of the workforce – employed by the industry as of 2013. Keeping our energy costs low will allow these manufacturers to grow their businesses and hire even more workers throughout the state.
If you’re at the race, come find America’s Power in Champions Park, where Regan Smith will be meeting fans and signing autographs on Saturday September 13th at 10:00 AM CT. And if you’re not at Chicagoland Speedway but will be watching the NASCAR races this weekend, keep an eye out for Regan in the #7 Clean Coal Chevy rounding the track and (fingers crossed) racing to victory.
Last weekend, I made the drive to the southwest tip of the Virginia triangle to Bristol Motor Speedway. Dubbed the “world’s fastest half-mile,” Bristol looks pretty majestic when driving up from the country hills of Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. We hit the ground running on Friday morning at the track, which was much busier and more crowded than the last race I attended. Despite the heat, we had more than a thousand visitors stop by the America’s Power booth to learn about the proposed EPA regulations and their potential impact on our country. It was a rewarding experience to spread the word about the work we’re doing, and the ways people can join the fight. It was also wonderful meeting retired coal miners from our member companies as well as other members of the coal community and hearing their stories. One man, who described how much coal meant to him as a worker for the railroads, hugged me at the end of our conversation and said he was thankful that a group like ACCCE stood up for the little guys in the fight. Times like those reassure me that I’m in the right place, fighting for the right cause.
During our busy afternoon, our driver Regan Smith and his pit crew came by our booth for an autograph signing. We had loud cheers in the tent as everyone was ecstatic to see the #2 driver in the Nationwide standings. Regan loves meeting his fans and they love him — we really are fortunate to have the best driver in NASCAR wear our colors proudly! Regan raced the #7 Breyer’s car that night, but it was great to see some of the pit crew walking around with our America’s Power t-shirts on before they had to change into their fire suits.
The half-mile track certainly proved to be the fastest lap I’ve ever seen. It also didn’t hurt that Dale Jr. was in our pit for the entire race! That was definitely a treat. Regan ended up finishing 5th, maintaining his position as #2 in the overall standings and currently trailing his teammate Chase Elliott by 13 points. I had such a great time meeting new people (and seeing them sport our apparel!), educating other on what we do and what we stand for, as well as staying for the race. Bristol was an absolutely fantastic experience, and I can’t wait to do it again at Chicagoland in three weeks!
Last week, I went to Pittsburgh to join my colleagues with the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, Ohio Coal Association and West Virginia Coal Association to host a rally for affordable energy the day before the EPA hearing session in Pittsburgh on July 31. Our Rally to Support American Energy gathered thousands of people across the spectrum and from all age groups whose lives, one way or another, are tied to coal-based industries or who benefit from low-cost coal-based electricity.
The EPA session in Pittsburgh was just one of four around the country meant to garner wide-spread public comment on EPA’s proposed regulations on existing power plants. A problem with having only four hearing sessions is that some have to travel great distances to make remarks that may not be taken to heart. We are doubly appreciative, therefore, for those who took the time to not only speak directly with EPA despite the difficulties of doing so but also for stopping by the rally to show us their support.
The America’s Power team had a great day. Our display stood at the front of Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, and we had the America’s Power #7 Nationwide car outside of the stadium for all attendees to see. We got fabulous pictures with our hard working supporters and the West Virginia Coal Festival princesses with the car! I took the opportunity to walk down the lines of attendees while they were waiting to enter the stadium to shake a few hands while I passed out stickers. I can’t tell you how meaningful it is to talk to some of them and hear their stories. Several people brought their spouses and their children to the event, and thanked us for our participation in the fight for affordable, reliable coal-based electricity.
Chris Higbee came to perform some country favorites, and we had a great group of speakers! Governor Corbett (PA), Governor Tomblin (WV) and Lt. Governor Taylor (OH) were our keynote speakers and boy, did they bring down the house! You could feel the energy as these legislators spoke from the heart and really brought the issue home. It was an added bonus that we were on the Monongahela River and had a couple supportive honks from the coal barges sailing by! Our team met so many new people, and gathered a ton of signatures for our EPA Comment Tool. Some supporters had met us at NASCAR races (we love seeing people wear our shirts!) and some were meeting us for the first time. It really is a joy to get out there and tell people how we are involved and why this fight is an extremely important one.
It was a beautiful day for us to get together in support of coal-based electricity – America’s Power!
Last week, I had the fun privilege of spending the day with our partner and NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. As a small business owner, Dale Jr. appreciates the importance of affordable energy. His businesses, JR Motorsports and Whisky River rely on affordable coal-based electricity to prep his cars and serve his customers. Without reliable, low-cost power from coal, which comprises more than half of North Carolina’s energy portfolio, the future of businesses like Dale Jr.’s could be jeopardized.
During our visit, Dale Jr. sat down with Dave Green, a mine rescue captain with Alpha Natural Resources to learn more about the cutting-edge safety technologies being used by companies like Alpha, which have taken impressive strides to improve safety in the coal production process. It was a great conversation and we look forward to sharing it with you in June.
Dale Jr. also conducted a number of radio interviews, including:
But aside from “talking shop,” we were able to have some fun too. On set, Dale Jr. took photos with #7 driver Regan Smith’s America’s Power car, in his own fire suit and even with Killer, his adorable bull dog:
All in all, it was a great day and we look forward to continuing a fantastic partnership with Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports – and hopefully seeing Dale win the Sprint Cup this year!
Stay tuned in the coming months for more from our day with Dale Jr.
Communities across America – from New Hampshire to Arizona, Alaska to Florida – all depend on low-cost coal for electricity. Energy is not a regional issue, nor is it a partisan issue; it is everyone’s issue. American families and businesses alike depend on affordable electricity to power their daily lives.
Throughout the years, America’s Power has had the chance to meet real Americans in real communities across the country who have shared their stories with us. Sitting down at their kitchen tables, walking through their communities and visiting their businesses, we’ve witnessed firsthand how policy made in Washington, D.C. impacts these men and women. We’ve spoken with a wide array of stakeholders, including parents, small business owners, manufacturers, corporate leaders, community leaders, and more.
These are real people telling their personal stories. They aren’t glamorous or staged; they are honest and candid. As the fight to protect affordable energy from coal against onerous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues, it seems President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy and others in the administration have no interest in hearing the perspectives of those they represent—and those who will bear the greatest burden of their policymaking.
Since Washington won’t visit these communities, we’re sharing their important stories in our “Real People, Real Stories” video series.
Stand with these Americans by voicing your opposition to EPA policies that jeopardize affordable, dependable electricity from coal.
Mike Duncan is the president and CEO for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the use of coal...
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Laura Sheehan Senior Vice President
Laura Sheehan is a seasoned public affairs expert with more than a 20-year track record in policy communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, community and...
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Julia Treanor Senior Director
Julia Treanor is a strategic communications and public affairs professional with nearly 10 years of experience in digital strategy, issue advocacy, political communications, media ...
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Jade Davis Senior Director
State Affairs and Outreach
Jade Davis is the Senior Director of State Affairs and Outreach at ACCCE. In his current role, Jade works with ACCCE’s regional and communications staff and government affairs staff ...
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Darian Ghorbi Director
Darian Ghorbi is the Director of Policy Analysis at ACCCE. Prior to joining ACCCE, Darian spent five years working for the U.S. Department of Energy.
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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is committed to the idea that America can have the affordable, reliable electricity we need, with the clean environment we want. ACCCE’s Behind the Plug blog is the place for up-to-date news and analysis on clean coal technology developments and energy policy progress.
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