Pay to play
The coal industry paid for meetings with state attorneys general to discuss fighting the Clean Power Plan.
And shortly thereafter, 26 of those attorneys general, almost all of them Republican, filed suit in federal court to block the plan, which is President Obama’s effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
According to newly released documents, at an August 2015 summit hosted by the Republican Attorneys General Association, coal company Murray Energy and the heavily coal-dependent electric utility Southern Company met privately with attorneys general — meetings that were secured in return for contributions to the association.
The emails and schedules revealing this quid pro quo were obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit good-government advocacy group. The center notes that the Republican Attorneys General Association has also received a total of $2.25 million since 2015 from fossil fuel corporations and lobbying groups such as ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
A majority of the public supports the Clean Power Plan in all but three of the 26 states those attorneys general represent, but that didn’t deter them filing from their suit. Oral arguments in the case will begin in federal appeals court later this month.