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Tag Archive: Mining Industry

House passage of Cravaack land swap bill boosts freshman’s profile, fundraising

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The Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act would order the federal government to take 86,000 acres of state land inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), part of the federally protected Superior National Forest, and give Minnesota a similar amount of federal-owned land just outside the wilderness--and its limits on develepment.

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Coal Industry Spending Freely to Influece Congress

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The coal industry is in the middle of a massive $40 million campaign to make sure that Congress, the presidential candidates, and the American people get to know that black rock in their stockings a little better - and to keep politicians from doing anything to threaten the burning of said unwelcome stocking guest in coal-fired power plants. If you've paid attention to the presidential race you probably noticed that a number of the debates were sponsored by a coal front group called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices and that those debates did not dare to feature a single question about global warming. CNN received $5 million dollars from the group. I'd say they got a good bang for their buck.

Facing a bruising fight over climate change, the coal industry is on the political offensive this election year to ensure that no matter who wins in November, so does coal.

Billions of dollars in corporate profits are at stake for the companies that mine, ship and burn the nation's most abundant domestic fuel.

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Safety Underground

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There’s an unwritten rule in the world of money and politics: the smaller the audience, the bigger the role of money in determining the outcome. This works both in elections and in legislation. Not many people pay attention to a humdrum House reelection contest, so the challenger can’t get traction and the incumbent’s war chest is usually sufficient to stave off anything but a renegade millionaire.

In legislation, the more attention a bill gathers, the more opponents it tends to pick up and the more expensive its passage is likely to be. Earmarks are the perfect example of stealth legislation – the items are buried in bigger bills and hardly anyone knows about them.

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High Spending Mine Owner Leads to Calls for Reform:

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The high spending political action of West Virginia’s Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy Co., is leading to calls for campaign finance reform, according to the Wall Street Journal. Blankenship has spent $6 million over the past two years on “political advertising campaigns, battling Democratic judges and fighting high taxes.” He has helped unseat a State Supreme Court Justice and lower the state’s food tax. Public officials have attacked Blankenship for not spending enough money on worker safety protections at his mines – recently, “four workers have died at Massey-owned mines in West Virginia, two of them in a fire on Jan. 21.”

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Lobbyist Ties to Pombo, Mining Industry Probed:

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The Los Angeles Times reports that former House Resources Committee legal aide and current mining industry lobbyist Duane Gibson held a $1,000 a head fundraiser for House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) that included many mining industry officials three months before Pombo presented legislation that would open up public lands to mining. Gibson, who has been named in subpoenas in the federal probe of Jack Abramoff, also worked as lead investigator at the Resources Committee on behalf of businessman Charles Hurwitz, under investigation by federal banking regulators. Charges against Hurwitz were later dropped after Pombo and John Doolittle (R-CA) – both recipients of campaign contributions from Hurwitz – undermined the federal case against him.

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