New financial disclosures released by the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation reveal that millions of dollars have been funneled to local Alabama environmental groups with the stated purpose of shutting down coal-fired power plants.
For the last several months, Yellowhammer has detailed environmental groups’ efforts to hijack Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings under the guise of advocating for lower energy rates for consumers.
Representatives from numerous Alabama environmental organizations have repeatedly claimed that their interests are only in reducing energy bills.
Alabama Arise Director Kimble Foster, for instance, said in a recent op-ed that his organization participated in the PSC hearings “because energy bills are a poverty issue, but the coal people seem to think it’s all about them.”
But the money says otherwise.
The Energy Foundation’s public financial disclosures not only show what organizations they donate to and how much money they give them, but also reveal exactly what each of their grants is going to fund.
Using data made publicly available by the Energy Foundation, here’s a quick snapshot of how much money environmental groups participating in the Alabama Public Service Commission hearings received, and what the funds were earmarked for:
- Alabama Arise: $50,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings “to advance clean energy policies in Alabama.”
- Alabama Environmental Council (AEC): $107,000 “to increase capacity and stakeholder engagement on clean energy issues in Alabama,” including $62,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings.
- Alabama Rivers Alliance: $40,000 matching grant during the Alabama PSC hearings “to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Alabama.”
- Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Air Pollution (GASP): $70,000, including a $20,000 matching grant “to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Alabama” and $50,000 “to increase capacity and support for clean air policies in Alabama.”
- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE): $810,000 for a wide variety of climate-related issues in the southeast, including $60,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings “to accelerate retirement of coal-fired power plants.”
- Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC): $1.8 Million, including $60,000 during the PSC hearings “to accelerate retirement of coal-fired power plants in the Southeast.”
Not a single dollar was earmarked for anything that could even remotely be characterized as consumer advocacy.
Republican Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn has vocally backed the environmental groups’ position throughout the entire series of public hearings, saying that he, too, was advocating for consumers’ interests.
“They want you to believe that… the environmental lobby will somehow ‘hijack’ the proceedings and effectively shut down Alabama’s coal industry,” Dunn said. “That… is a lie.”
As usual, there’s what their mouths are saying, then there’s what the money is saying. The earmarked funds flowing in from the west coast environmental juggernaut are speaking loud and clear.
[Note: The above research was gleaned from the Energy Foundation’s grants database. It includes an easy-to-use search tool that you can use to verify our findings above.]
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims
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