Pro-coal group allegedly paid fake activists to wear its shirts at EPA hearings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held 12 hours of stacked hearings in Chicago on Thursday, allowing the public to express their opinions (mostly adulation according to The Huffington Post) about the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

But an alternative news site, AlterNet, is reporting that a group representing the coal industry posted an ad in Craigslist offering $50 to each person to wear a pro-coal t-shirt during the hearings. This is the tweet from the Environmental Law & Policy Center that AlterNet quotes:

A little Internet digging, said AlterNet, turned up the ad on Craigslist, now deleted. However, the news outlet claimed they were able to take a screenshot, which we reproduce here:

On March 27 the EPA released its anticipated rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. The proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act purports to set national limits on the amount of carbon pollution new power plants can emit.

Today we’re taking a common-sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy, said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The rule requires that any new power plant built in the U.S. will have to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide per megawatt-hour.  The vast majority of modern natural-gas plants already meet this standard.  Conventional coal plants average about 1,800 pounds per megawatt-hour.  Therefore, any new stationary source will need to be a natural-gas fired plant, a renewable energy facility, or a coal plant built with advanced carbon capture technology (or other carbon-cutting measure), as explained Jayni Foley Hein from Berkely.