Wal-Mart has launched a new “green” campaign to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.
The advertisement hasn’t been running in the coalfields – but viewers as close as Washington D.C. supposedly have seen it.
The ad says: “Since 2006, Wal-Mart has sold over 260 million compact fluorescent light bulbs, eliminating the need for three coal-fired power plants. Save money. Live Better. Wal-Mart.”
Phil Smith doesn’t have anything against energy conservation, but the director of communications for the United Mine Workers says there’s no need to link that to the use of less coal.
“When they say in their ad that the amount of these light bulbs they’ve sold equates to not building three coal-fired power plants, that’s a direct attack on coal miners’ jobs. I don’t know how else you can put that.
Smith says new research will someday allow the burning of coal without releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Until then, he wants Wal-Mart to pull the ad, and plans to contact his members to let them know about it.
Roger Horton, a Logan County coal miner and founder of the group Citizens for Coal, says he sent the Wal-Mart ad to all his contacts.
"I believe that they want coal to fail so they can cash in on this dream of green energy products," he wrote in an e-mail.
"And believe me it is a dream. Granted, some of our energy can be produced by other methods, but nothing can replace coal. But I will say that Wal-Mart can be replaced," Horton wrote.
A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart did not return a phone call for comment by Thursday afternoon.
Company spokesman Dave Tovar told Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette that Wal-Mart doesn’t have anything against coal, coal miners or coal-fired power plants:
“The reference to coal plants was simply to show a comparison of energy usage. We don’t have a position one way or the other on coal plants,” Tovar said, according to Ward's "Coal Tattoo" blog.
Tovar said the ads were running in Washington, D.C. and not West Virginia or Kentucky because, “We run lots of ads in all sorts of markets to reach lots of different audiences.”