09/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Brutal Battle to Kill King Coal

There’s a great scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s cold war thriller Torn Curtain where Professor Armstrong, Paul Newman’s character, is trying to kill an East German farmer’s wife in her kitchen. Don’t worry, she’s a villain. The scene goes on for an excruciatingly long time until he is finally successful. This scene is meant to show the reality of how difficult, ungraceful and frustrating it is to actually kill someone. As opposed to a typical action movie sequence where the hero karate kicks the villain once, he or she meet their fate, and the plot advances, this scene has the viewer squirming in their seat, waiting for the brutal effort to end. The two combatants will do everything and anything to survive. It takes a lot of work for one to emerge the survivor.

As we (Professor Armstrong) struggle to disempower the powerful, entrenched coal industry (the evil farmer’s wife) we see more and more that they are grasping for every frying pan and kitchen knife they can reach to delay their fate. We a seeing an increasing desperation in their struggle and they are fighting very dirty.

For example, if you’re looking for comic relief combined with outright creepiness there’s Families for Pennsylvania Coal. They put out this lovely little coloring book for the kiddies to help them understand that without devastated watersheds, mercury in pregnant and nursing mothers and dead ecosystems, Frosty would be missing his eyes!

Then there’s the “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity“. It is the powerhouse lobby group for coal in the battle to convince Americans that there is such a thing as clean coal and that it needs to dominate our energy planning. Their web site seems to be an electronic tribute to the notion that in order to mask the reality of your position, you must misrepresent yourself using the vernacular of your opponents. In the recent battle to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) in the House, a lobbying firm employed by ACCCE, Bonner and Associates, forged letters to members of the house, falsely representing positions by other organizations, such as the NAACP, in opposition to the bill. Sound too bad too be true? Let’s go to the video

Would this be necessary if they were in the right? No, of course not. And the fact that they’ve been exposed as liars and frauds will do absolutely nothing to tone down their tactics. In the battle to pass an even better bill in the Senate, we will face every tactic they can fund, from Astroturf (phony grass roots activity) to fraud. Don’t kid yourself. Alfred Hitchcock had it right. A prolonged, determined effort is going to be necessary to end the life of King Coal.