Climate Action and Black Crosses

By scott parkin

Over the weekend, Big Coal’s corporate stooges flew to the gateway city of St. Louis for a carbon intensive love fest known as the “Global Energy Future Forum.” St. Louis has become ground zero for the dirty energy industry as two of the largest coal companies in the world –Arch Coal and Peabody Energy– are headquartered there along with utility Ameren UE.

While the 19th century era coal barons tried to fit themselves into the 21st century, a mysterious entity known as the “Black Cross Alliance” planted black crosses at the HQs of Peabody Energy and Ameren UE, as well as a PNC Bank, calling out the growing death toll related to coal mining and coal burning policies.

With a spirit as old and as rebellious as Edward Abbey, the Black Cross Alliance has been leaving black crosses and messages reading “We Shall Not Be Crucified Upon A Cross of Coal” onto workers’ helmets and mining equipment in southern Illinois.

Back at the conference, Peabody CEO Greg Boyce attempted to give a speech at Washington U. until students and environmentalists with Climate Action St. Louis took a stand, literally, with messages like “Coal does not solve poverty, it causes it,” “Clean Coal is a dirty lie,” and “Get off my board.” The last message referencing Boyce as a board member at Washington U. Boyce ignored them, the other conference participants didn’t.

Last week’s actions in Washington DC, Louisville Ky and, now, St. Louis show that resistance to King Coal is fertile.

Corporate Coal Criminals Warned Again by the Black Cross Alliance
Black Crosses Continue to Emerge Throughout America

You shall not press upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns.
You shall not crucify us any longer upon a cross of coal.

Three mysterious black crosses, signifying the infinite human lives and sacred lands sacrificed for coal-powered electricity, were spotted early this morning at the headquarter offices of Peabody Energy and Ameren UE, as well as a PNC Bank ATM. All of these companies continue to prioritize profits over people. This act is considered to be a continuance of the similar incidents of spontaneous cross construction throughout Southern Illinois last week.

St. Louis, Missouri is ground zero in the Obama administration’s plan to dangerously experiment with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies for coal-fired plants, and a predominant CCS research facility has recently begun construction at Washington University. It is clear why the Black Cross Alliance wants to spread awareness in St. Louis. Three of the world’s largest coal corporations are headquartered in St. Louis: Peabody Energy, Ameren UE, and Arch Coal. In the last year, Peabody Energy received $61 million in tax abatements and rebates from the city of Saint Louis; Arch Coal applied for yet another permit for a fifteenth Mountaintop Removal (MTR) coal mine in Central Appalachia; Ameren UE increased local consumers’ energy bills by almost 12%, and currently operates one of the nation’s largest coal plants, emitting hazardous levels of mercury and other carcinogens and toxins. PNC Bank is notorious for its financing of destructive mountaintop removal coal mining practices.

The Black Cross Alliance plans to construct symbolic black crosses at coal mining and coal-burning landmarks in the state and across the nation to serve as a public warning: It is no longer acceptable for the Obama administration–and state and regional government officials—to refuse renewable energies such as wind and solar technologies, and remain negligent in the protection of entire human populations threatened by coal mining.

In a line: The death-toll from coal mining and coal-burning plants has become a national disaster.

Invoking southern Illinois-born populist William Jennings Bryan’s famous “Cross of Gold” speech, the Black Cross Alliance calls on the Obama administration and the state of Missouri to halt billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for multinational coal corporations, and bring an end to scandalous coal wars throughout the country by re-investing in a sustainable and just energy policy.

The Black Cross Alliance declares: We shall not be crucified upon a cross of coal.

It’s time to reveal the hidden costs of coal: Coal is not clean (and can never be, regardless of new technologies), and coal is not cheap. Coal is deadly, destructive, and running out. Coal is over.