Cloud Peak Bankruptcy Shows It Funded Anti-Climate Change Groups
LARAMIE – The bankruptcy of Cloud Peak Energy, one of the largest domestic coal producers in the country, has revealed that the company maintains financial ties to many of the leading groups that have denied the human causes of global warming.
According to an article by Lee Fang at TheIntercept.com, the disclosures are from Cloud Peak Energy, a Wyoming-based coal mining corporation that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10. The company had been battered by low coal prices, including in international markets sought by the firm.
The article claims the documents in the court docket show that the coal giant gave contributions to leading think tanks that have attacked the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change, as well as to several conservative advocacy groups that have attempted to undermine policies intended to shift the economy toward renewable energy. The documents do not include information on the size of the contributions.
The contributions are revealed in a filing that lists recipients of grants, creditors, and contractors. The document shows that Cloud Peak Energy helped fund the Institute of Energy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based group that has dismissed the “so-called scientific consensus” on climate change and regularly criticizes investments in renewable energy as a “waste” of resources.
Several of the groups that receive funding from Cloud Peak Energy have used aggressive tactics to attempt to discredit environmentalists. The Center for Consumer Freedom, one of the groups listed in the coal company’s filing, is part of a sprawling network of front groups set up by a lobbyist named Rick Berman geared toward attacking green groups such as the Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch as dangerous radicals.
The Montana Policy Institute — a local libertarian think tank that promotes a discredited claim that world temperatures are falling, not rising, and questions whether humans cause climate change — also received funding from the firm.
Cloud Peak Energy, the filing shows, funded Americans for Prosperity; Crossroads GPS; and the Western Caucus Foundation. Many of the political dollars listed in the filing appear routine among coal industry firms. The Wyoming coal firm provided financing to an array of trade groups, including the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the National Mining Association, and the American Coal Council, that lobby legislators mine industry priorities.
The corporation, which owns two Wyoming coal mines, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware last week.
According to the filing, the company has $928.7 million in total assets and about $635 million in total debts.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.