Changes in national policy to address climate change could cost the industry billions. So they're mining votes with TV ads appealing directly to voters. From the AP:
TV ads in key primary states, most recently Ohio, promote the fuel as a clean alternative to foreign oil. A network of 130,000 coal supporters has pledged to spread the word - among friends, candidates, anyone they encounter - that coal produces half the nation's electricity.
Coal-fired power plants pump two billion tons of greenhouse gases into the air every year. And the industry is pumping tens of millions of dollars into campaign donations for friendly members of Congress.
One outfit -- Americans for Balanced Energy Choices -- has spent $5 million on sponsorships with CNN for Presidential debates. Overall, they expect to spend $40 million on political influence this year. That's double what they shelled out in 2007. (AP)