The Stench of Burning Books Fills the Air

by William Yeatman on March 26, 2008

Earlier this March, CEI began a nation-wide advertising campaign to warn Americans that Al Gore’s climate policies would lead to global energy poverty. In order to remind us all that there are billions for whom reliable energy is not a given, the advertisement included footage of an Haitian villagers erupting in cheers upon the installation of their first street light.

That footage came from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a trade group that represents Rural Economic Coops, which are small utilities created during the New Deal to bring electricity to sparsely populated areas. By making the footage available on You Tube, NRECA was trying to demonstrate to the public the benefits of energy, which is the same point that CEI was trying to make in the Al Gore advertisement.

So we’re on the same team, right?

Wrong. The Association claims copyright infringement over the seven seconds of footage and a “takedown” notice by the association led to the ad being yanked off YouTube over the weekend (CEI has since put the ad on its own website).

Which begs the question: why would NRECA want to censor CEI?

The answer: NRECA would do anything to avoid losing its government privileges.

Rural electric coops depend on taxpayer money for their existence. The 2007 Energy Security and Independence Act included $6.5 billion in guaranteed, low cost loans to rural coops. Naturally, NRECA is loathe to rock the boat and upset the status quo; otherwise, it might ruffle feathers and risk the continuation of government handouts.


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