President Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry will headline an event at a Washington, D.C. steakhouse hosted by RealClearPolitics. The post describes the event as “presented by” two coal lobbying groups, the National Mining Association (NMA) and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).
According to the most recent financial disclosures filed with the IRS, obtained by the Climate Investigations Center, ACCCE and NMA’s boards are comprised of numerous coal company executives including Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray.
Murray’s close ties to Perry and President Trump have been widely reported. Murray contributed $300,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee and hosted a fundraising event for Perry in 2011. Murray delivered a policy wishlist to Perry and top DOE officials during a meeting in 2017. Current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was also at the meeting, who was a registered lobbyist for Murray Energy in 2017.
Since then, the DOE has tried to deliver multiple bailouts to the coal industry, including a grid reliability plan that would subsidize coal and nuclear plants (FERC voted against the plan) and its “Coal FIRST initiative”, which would provide up to $38 million in funding for research into improving existing coal-fired power plants.
In February, President Trump urged Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to weigh “all factors” before voting to close a coal-fired power plant–which had direct ties to Murray–via tweet . Perry retweeted the President and said, “Coal helps keep American electricity affordable and reliable.” (The TVA board voted to close the coal plant.)
The event, called “Powering the Grid: Access, Affordability & Fuel Diversity,” will also feature West Virginia Republican Congressman David McKinley, who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the mining industry.
Photograph by Gage Skidmore. Used under creative commons license.