A book about the rhetoric of the coal industry written by University of Montana professor Steve Schwarze earned a national award for environmental communication, according to University Relations.
Titled "Under Pressure: Coal Industry Rhetoric and Neoliberalism," the book examines rhetorical strategies employed by the industry, including "corporate ventriloquism," and "industrial apocalyptic" advocacy.
The Environmental Communication Division of the National Communication Association honored the publication with its Christine L. Oravec Research Award.
"Coal is clearly an industry under pressure on multiple fronts," Schwarze said in a statement. "In the U.S., production has fallen to historic lows, and several of the largest coal companies have declared bankruptcy.
"Public concern about climate change, rapidly shifting domestic and global markets, and the specter of federal regulation all pose threats to the industry."
The book was published earlier this year by Palgrave Macmillan, and the co-authors are Jen Schneider of Boise State University, Peter K. Bsumek of James Madison University, and Jennifer Peeples of Utah State University.
According to Schwarze, the book takes a different approach than many scholars. Often, researchers examine the way the coal industry and its allies try to "cast doubt on climate science," but "Under Pressure" looks at the way the companies use language to align audiences with their interests, according to the news release.
"Looking forward, it may give readers insight into how the coal industry will address the Clean Power Plan," he said in a statement. "It also has broader relevance for understanding the strategies that other powerful industries may use to manage significant threats to their existence."