By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Coal Association and their political allies have suggested that thousands of Alabama jobs are at jeopardy from draconian new Obama administration EPA regulations and an onslaught from radical environmentalist groups that threatens both jobs and higher power rates.
Recent media reports have exposed a link between the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation and Alabama based environmental groups to wage a stealth “War on Coal” in Alabama. Money from the California group bankrolls groups in Alabama and the Southeast that then launch political and legal attacks on Alabama industries. The Alabama Coal Association is charging that some of that money is misappropriated federal grant dollars.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, requesting an accounting of taxpayer funds provided to these same groups through federal grants.
Shelby’s release charged that those groups, which are, “bankrolled by the Energy Foundation have disrupted several Alabama Public Service Commission hearings regarding utility rate structures under the pretext of protecting consumers in Alabama.”
Sen. Shelby wrote to Secretary Moniz, “While independent organizations are free to spend their money and advocate in whatever manner that they wish, my concern is that some of the organizations now waging a war against coal in Alabama are also receiving federal funds in the form of grants from your department.”
Sen. Shelby continued, “Accordingly, I ask that you investigate these organizations’ use of the grant funding that they have received from your department to ensure that they are spending their federal grant dollars in accordance with the law and their intended purpose. I also further ask that you write back to me with your findings in this regard. To assist you in this undertaking, I have enclosed a letter I received from a group of my constituents more fully describing these concerns.” The constituents referenced in the letter are the Alabama Coal Association.
Shelby wrote to Moniz, “I write to express my concern that federal grant funds awarded by the Department of Energy may have been misallocated to improper political advocacy by special interest groups seeking to undermine the coal industry in my home state of Alabama.”
Senator Shelby wrote, “The link between affordable electricity and economic growth and job creation is undeniable. Thus, it is of great concern to me when large out-of-state organizations seek to impose their detrimental agenda on the people of the State of Alabama. It is even more concerning still that these organizations could possibly be using taxpayer dollars to do so.”
The managing attorney of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Keith Johnston has since denied that his organization has received any Department of Energy funds and in a letter to Shelby, which he also forwarded to the Alabama Media Group, claims that the Alabama Coal Association’s allegations are both misleading and inaccurate.
Senator Richard Shelby is the senior Senator from Alabama. He was first elected in 1986 after having served in both the U.S. Congress and the Alabama legislature.