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National Mining Association

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The National Mining Association (NMA) is the national trade organization of the U.S. mining industry which "represents the interests of mining before Congress, the Administration, federal agencies, the judiciary and the media." [1] It is represented by the public affairs firm Democracy Data & Communications, LLC (DDC).

In 2010, NMA spent nearly $3 million in lobbying on energy, environmental, and labor issues,[2] and over one million in first quarter 2011 alone.[3] From 1997 to the 2012 election cycle, NMA had spent over $40 million on lobbying, primarily on bills related to clean energy and green jobs, the regulation of greenhouse gases, coal mine reclamation, and carbon capture and storage.[4]

Ramping up lobbying efforts

In September 2007, The Hill reported that NMA was planning to "dramatically increase its lobbying and advertising budget," in response to high-profile mining disasters, increased rates of black lung disease, and concerns about climate change, among other issues. NMA's overall budget is slated to increase from $15.6 million for 2007 to $19.7 million for 2008.[5]

NMA was also reported to be increasing its outreach to Democrats. Its two political action committees, COALPAC and MINEPAC, "are moving towards a more even split" between the two major parties, after years of giving nearly 90 percent of its PAC money to Republicans, reported The Hill. NMA is also "looking to add a Democratic consultant to its list of outside lobbyists," which includes the Alpine Group, Federal Policy Group, Washington Advocates and the Nickles Group. NAM is also hiring four more in-house lobbyists and "two additional regulatory experts."[6]

"Opposition to new coal plants is mounting because they generate greenhouse gases," observed the Washington Post in January 2008. "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." [7]

But "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" for 2008.[7]

In October 2010, the New York Times reported that the coal industry, facing a host of new EPA health and safety regulations, is spending millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign donations for the November 2 election to influence the makeup of the next Congress in hopes of derailing what one industry official called an Obama administration “regulatory jihad.” The article found that political spending by the coal industry is on track to exceed that of the 2008 cycle, when the presidency was at stake and Congress was debating climate change regulation.[8]

As of the beginning of October 2010, coal mining companies had collectively contributed nearly $3 million to federal candidates, with three-quarters of the money going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign spending. The companies spent about $3.5 million to influence the 2008 elections and it appeared likely that they would surpass that figure in 2010. In addition, the industry has spent more than $24 million on lobbying since the beginning of 2009, nearly as much as it spent in 2007-8. Coal companies, in partnership with utilities and manufacturers under the front group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, have spent more than $15 million on advertisements extolling the virtues of coal and seeking support for federal money for research into "cleaner" methods of burning it.

The industry’s main Washington lobby, the National Mining Association, was likewise on pace to set records for political spending in 2010.[8]

Lobbying against GHG regulation and clean energy

A 2010 Center for American Progress analysis of the lobbying and political contributions of the top 20 oil production, mining and electric utilities companies and the 13 trade associations representing the energy business between January 2009 and June 2010 found they had spent more than $500 million on campaign contributions and lobbying to defeat global warming legislation and clean energy initiatives. Twenty energy groups spent $242 million on lobbying during that 18-month time period, while the trade associations spent an additional $290 million. The National Mining Association was listed as the ninth-largest association contributor to the anti-climate change effort, spending $4.2 million, primarily on the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill (HR 2454) to delay EPA GHG reductions.[9]

In January 2010, POLITICO reported that top staffers of Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Comittee, met behind closed doors with the energy industry "to lay the groundwork for a sweeping Republican-led effort to undercut Obama's climate agenda." Reportedly their plan was to enlist "unwavering support from a host of industries for an all-out push to block federal and state climate rules" in addition to rolling back EPA's new clean air standards. The energy lobbyists in the room were reported to be representatives of the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among other corporate interests.[10]

Partnering with Scholastic Books

In May 2011, it was reported that the American Coal Foundation paid Scholastic to help produce and place in grade school classrooms maps and worksheets called the "United States of Energy," with much of the information from the National Mining Association. One widely distributed chart did not mention damage from mining or pollution. The Coal Foundation had been distributing materials on its own, then partnered with Scholastic so that 66,000 fourth grade teachers received materials to build into lesson plans.

In the Appalachian mining communities of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, mining companies sponsor something called CEDAR, Coal Education Development and Resources, which offers teachers booklets and DVDs produced by coal-burning utility AEP and mining giant Peabody Coal. One emphasizes how Kentucky has benefited from coal mine reclamation, with little mention of any negatives of strip mining. And on the issue of coal's carbon dioxide emissions, CEDAR offers teachers a video, titled "The Greening of Planet Earth" that asserts: "As more and more scientists are confirming, our world is deficient in carbon dioxide and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is very beneficial."

On May 13, 2011, Scholastic, Inc., issued the following statement regarding its partnership with the American Coal Foundation (emphasis added): "This week, Scholastic came under criticism for an 11" x 16" poster map which displays different sources of energy – coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind and natural gas – not so much for the content of the poster but primarily for its sponsorship by the American Coal Foundation. We acknowledge that the mere fact of sponsorship may call into question the authenticity of the information, and therefore conclude that we were not vigilant enough as to the effect of sponsorship in this instance. We have no plans to further distribute this particular program."[11]

Lobbyists

According to U.S. Senate Office of Public Records filings, NAM has spent $18,840,000 on lobbying, from 1998 to 2004. Lobbying firms and individuals lobbying on behalf of NAM during that time include MGN Inc, Owen Frisby, National Environmental Strategies Company, Holland & Hart, KSG, Lee & Smith, the Alpine Group, Horizons West, James Allen Wampler, The Allbaugh Company and Patton Boggs. [12]

As of September 2007, NAM's in-house Washington DC lobbyists were, according to the Lobbyists.info online database: Karen Bennett, Susan B. Carver, David O. Finkenbinder, Bradford V. Frisby, Daniel R. Gerkin, Anne Marie L. Jacob, Craig F. Montesano, Kraig R. Naasz, M. Richardson "Rich" Nolan, Moya Phelleps, Luke Popovich, Harold P. Quinn Jr., Carol Raulston, Stephanie Salvagno, Katie Sweeney, and Bruce Watzman. [13]

Political action committees

In the 2006 election cycle, NAM's "MINEPAC" political action committee gave $223,250 to federal candidates. More than 80% of this money went to Republicans. [14]

In the 2006 election cycle, NAM's "COALPAC" political action committee gave $424,748 to federal candidates. More than 80% of this money went to Republicans. [15]

Members

The NMA lists its current members as including major mining companies, state-based mining associations, and companies that service the mining sector. [16]

SourceWatch resources

External links

References

  1. National Mining Association, "About NMA", accessed September 2007.
  2. "Lobbying: National Mining Assn" opensecrets, accessed July 2011.
  3. "Coal lobby spending jumps 76% fighting US air pollution rules" Bloomberg, June 6, 2011.
  4. "Lobbying" Influence Explorer, accessed July 2012.
  5. Jim Snyder, "Facing new threats, mining industry undergoes a facelift," The Hill (Washington DC), September 18, 2007.
  6. Jim Snyder, "Facing new threats, mining industry undergoes a facelift," The Hill (Washington DC), September 18, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Steven Mufson, "Coal Industry Plugs Into the Campaign," Washington Post, January 18, 2008.
  8. 8.0 8.1 John Broeder, "Coal Industry Spending to Sway Next Congress" NY Times, Oct. 29, 2010.
  9. Joe Rom,, "Dirty Money: Big Oil and corporate polluters spent over $500 million to kill climate bill, push offshore drilling" Climate Progress, Sep 27, 2010.
  10. "GOP plots polluter strategy with energy lobbyists" NRDC, January 20, 2011.
  11. "Scholastic distributed coal propaganda in schools" PRI's Living on Earth, May 16, 2011.
  12. LobbyWatch profile: National Mining Association, Center for Public Integrity, accessed September 18, 2007.
  13. Lobbyists.info profile: National Mining Association (sub req'd), accessed September 18, 2007.
  14. OpenSecrets.org profile: MINEPAC, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed September 18, 2007.
  15. OpenSecrets.org profile: COALPAC, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed September 18, 2007.
  16. "Member Directory", accessed September 2007.

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