According to The Washington Post, the coal industry is fighting for Mr. Peabody, even though his coal train long ago hauled it away.
In Kansas, where a state agency rejected a permit for two proposed coal plants, opinion polls show that roughly two out of three people opposed the plants. That sentiment, plus soaring construction costs and uncertainty about federal climate change legislation, last year prompted U.S. companies to abandon or postpone plans to build dozens of new coal plants.
The coal mining industry is fighting back. It increased the budget of the National Mining Association, the industry’s main lobbying group, by 20 percent this year, to $19.7 million. Last September, the industry also boosted the budget of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices more than fourfold. The roster of backers includes 28 companies and trade associations such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Duke Energy, Southern Co. and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, has spent $1.3 million on billboard, newspaper, television and radio ads in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. The group has also deployed teams on the campaign trail; about 50 people, many of them paid, walked around as human billboards and handed out leaflets outside Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Nevada with questions for voters to ask the candidates.