CREDO Action – Tell the IDCEO: Stop misleading our kids about coal!

From the Coal Mines to the Power Lines…
An IDCEO-Funded Curriculum that Glorifies Coal!

Eco-Justice Collaborative is working together with the Heartland Coalfield Alliance to stop the funding of school curricula that misleads both teachers and our children about the true costs of coal.  While coal provides us with a ready source of energy, mining, processing and burning coal destroys our land, poisons our water, pollutes our air and often displaces once-cohesive communities.  And the real costs of this fuel are borne by the taxpayer in environmental and health costs, not the corporations.  However, you’d never learn any of this from the taxpayer-funded Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s curriculum!

We hope you will read the CREDO action below and then sign the petition.  It takes just a few minutes …

CREDO Action
Tell the IDCEO to Stop Misleading Our Kids about Coal!

Did you know that the State of Illinois runs a $145 million per year program that distributes inaccurate coal-industry talking points to schoolchildren and teachers? I was pretty upset when I found out too.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Coal Development, which journalist Jeff Biggers describes as a “marketing and development slush fund” for the coal industry, provides materials to Illinois kids and educators that are heavy on pro-coal propaganda and light on the public health and environmental impacts of mining and burning coal.1

These materials are so friendly to the coal industry that they could have been written by the coal companies themselves. For example, the Office of Coal Development’s kid’s site includes a chapter entitled “What is coal?” that doesn’t mention public health and environmental impacts at all.2

Tell the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: Stop misleading kids about coal. Click here to automatically sign our petition to the Illinois Department of Commerce.

In a section of the kids site called “How does coal affect the environment?” there is no mention whatsoever of either climate change or the health impacts of coal pollution.3 In reality, coal is the largest source of climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and a February 2011 Harvard study found that the public health costs of cancer, lung disease and respiratory illnesses related to coal pollution exceed $187 billion dollars annually.4

Teaching schoolchildren about coal in a balanced and accurate way wouldn’t be a problem. Such a curriculum would include information about coal’s devastating effects on our environment and public health. But that isn’t what the State of Illinois is engaged in.

According to the DCEO, the Illinois Coal Education Program “strives to preserve and enhance the marketability of Illinois coal” and “create a positive image for the mining and utilization of coal in Illinois.5 This sounds like something an industry PR firm would be involved in, not something the state should be spending taxpayer money on.

Illinois’ Office of Coal Development costs the state $145 million per year, about a dollar per month per resident. Illinois shouldn’t be spending taxpayer money to mislead the state’s schoolchildren about the public health and environmental impacts of dirty coal.

Tell the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: Stop misleading kids about coal. Click here to automatically sign our petition to the Illinois Department of Commerce.

1. Heartland Coal Crisis: Illinois Bankrolls Big Coal School Program, Alternet, June 22, 2011
2. What is Coal?, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
3. How Does Coal Affect the Environment?, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
4. Coal Costs US Public Up to $500 Billion Annually: Harvard Study, Treehugger.com, February 17, 2011
5. Illinois Coal Education Program, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

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