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Chris Cline

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Chris Cline is the majority owner of the private firm Foresight Reserves, LP, which owns or controls more than three billion tons of coal reserves in the Illinois and Northern Appalachian coal basins.[1].Cline also owns The Cline Group, a parent company to Hillsboro Energy and Gogebic Taconite.[2] In his online biography, Cline describes himself, "[Cline] has developed and operated over 25 coal mining, processing and transportation facilities in the Appalachian Region and the Illinois Basin, including some of the most productive long wall mining operations in the country. Today, Mr. Cline controls more than three billion tons of coal reserves in Illinois and Central Appalachia."[3]

As of March 2013, Clines net worth is listed at $1.2 billion.[4]

Background

Chris Cline's 33,413-square foot house in Palm Beach, Florida.
Sinking the Heartland: Longwall mining's impacts on rural Illinois

Cline's operations and lifestyle were profiled by Bloomberg Magazine in the October, 2010, article "New King Coal." The article discusses how Cline tried to distribute literature at his childrens' school suggesting that climate change may be caused by clusters of sunspots or the Earth wobbling on its axis, not just carbon. When the school refused due to lack of scientific support for these theories, he complained to school fundraisers. He calls coal "a moral imperative" for the world's poor, and describes Massey Energy's Don Blankenship, CEO during the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, as one of the coal industry’s "most talented leaders."[5]

Cline told Bloomberg reporters John Lippert and Mario Parker that "we in the industry probably do the worst job in the world getting out the story of the good lives we're helping people live. Changing that is certainly a big interest of mine."[5]

"As far as the social acceptability of coal, I like to think I'm part of supplying the cheapest energy in America," he said.[5]

Mining interests

In 2009, ExxonMobil sold the Shay Mine No. 1 to Macoupin Energy LLC, part of the Cline Group, also owned by Chris Cline. The Cline Group also owns Hillsboro Energy and has mines elsewhere in Illinois and West Virginia.[6]

The following companies and mines have been directly or indirectly affiliated with Chris Cline:

Digging begins at Deer Run Mine, despite legal challenge

In April 2011, the Cline Group began digging at the Deer Run Mine in Illinois. The early production is “development coal” that must be removed to allow construction of the underground mine. The mine remains the subject of a 2-year-old appeal of its operating permit. The appeal was filed by a group of landowners called Citizens Against Longwall Mining in early 2009, who contend the longwall mining method to be used at Deer Run will hurt farmland values, filing the appeal after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved an operating permit for Deer Run mine. The group argues that longwall mining will damage farmland by causing long-term mine subsidence. Brian Perbix of the Prairie Rivers Network/Sierra Club said opponents are hoping for a decision this summer 2011, and added that there is still time to halt the operation. Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Januri Smith said the administrative review remains in the discovery process and that a timeline has not been set for a ruling.[27]

Coal Transport

In June 2011, Canadian National Railway said it will sell assets of its indirect subsidiary, IC RailMarine Terminal Co, for $73 million to an affiliate of Foresight Energy and the Cline Group. CN also said it had entered a related 10-year coal transportation agreement with another affiliate of Foresight and Cline - Savatran LLC - to increase its participation in the growing export of Illinois Basin coal.

Foresight Energy has about 3 billion tons of coal reserves and coal production from four mining complexes in Illinois. The IC RailMarine terminal, which is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River at Convent, Louisiana, stores and transfers bulk commodities and liquids globally between rail, ship and barge. Foresight said it will double the capacity of the terminal to 8 million tons of export coal per year, with the potential for an additional expansion of 8 million tons

CN said it will enter the rail transportation agreement with Savatran LLC after the terminal deal closes. The coal transportation agreement entails hauling of coal from four Illinois mines to the Convent transfer facility. Under the terms of the deal, Savatran will ship a minimum annual volume of coal via CN.[28]

Lobbying and campaign contributions

Tony Mayville

From 2008 to 2013, companies of Cline contributed thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Tony Mayville, who served as acting director of Mines and Minerals at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Contributions were made while Cline was seeking mining permits; Mayville was already collecting coal industry campaign contributions when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made him acting director of the Office of Mines and Minerals, where he would oversee the mine permitting process.[29]

Gogebic Taconite and Wisconsin 2012 mining bill

Chris Cline is the president of the Cline Group which is the parent company of Gogebic Taconite, a strong and early proponent of the controversial Wisconsin mining bill originally introduced on December 8th, 2011 with no official author. The Center for Media and Democracy 's PR Watch article states "many had criticized the process, suggesting that no legislators were listed as authors of the bill because Gogebic Taconite was the true author." If passed, the bill will help Gogebic Taconite implement a 21 mile long iron-ore strip mine in northern Wisconsin. Even before the mining legislation became public, CMD found:[17]

"Walker received $10,000 for his gubernatorial campaign, $8,000 directly from Cline and $2,000 from one of Cline's fellow mining executives.
"Cline and his cohorts donated another $29,750, split between two Assembly candidates and one Senate candidate. Many suspect that Gogebic Taconite actually wrote the bill that is currently before the legislature."

Gogebic Taconite also executed its own economic analysis reporting that its project would create 700 mining jobs in Wisconsin.[17]

Articles and resources

Sources

  1. Portfolio: Foresight Reserves, LP, The Carlyle Group, accessed October 12, 2010.
  2. Harriet Rowen,Wisconsin GOP Attempts to Ram Through Special Interest Mining Bill, PR Watch, February 22, 2012.
  3. Chris Cline Biography, Personal website, accessed May 31st, 2013.
  4. The World's Billionaires, Forbes, March 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 John Lippert and Mario Parker, "New King Coal," Bloomberg Markets Magazine, October 12, 2010.
  6. John L. Lewis, "ExxonMobil sells Monterey coal mine – Will new owners keep the Union?" Union News, January 27, 2009.
  7. "Form 4: Satement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership," U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, May 22, 2009.
  8. Bruce Rushton, "The Return of King Coal," IllinoisTimes, March 23, 2006
  9. "Gatling investing $75 million in mine facility," Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, accessed October 12, 2010
  10. Portfolio: Foresight Reserves, LP, The Carlyle Group, accessed October 12, 2010.
  11. "Cline Resource and Development Company," Mantra, accessed October 12, 2010.
  12. Bruce Rushton, "The Return of King Coal," IllinoisTimes, March 23, 2006
  13. Portfolio: Foresight Reserves, LP, The Carlyle Group, accessed October 12, 2010.
  14. "Foresight Energy LLC" Corporation Wiki, accessed October 12, 2010.
  15. "Gatling High Sulfur Coal Mine under Construction in West Virginia Will Supply Nearby Power Plant, an Industrial Info News Alert," Business Wire, March 24, 2006
  16. "Gatling Ohio responds to rumors about mine, Point Pleasant Register, accessed October 12, 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Harriet Rowen,Wisconsin GOP Attempts to Ram Through Special Interest Mining Bill, PR Watch, February 22, 2012.
  18. John L. Lewis, "ExxonMobil sells Monterey coal mine – Will new owners keep the Union?" Union News, January 27, 2009
  19. John L. Lewis, "ExxonMobil sells Monterey coal mine – Will new owners keep the Union?" Union News, January 27, 2009
  20. "NRP Enters Into an Agreement With The Cline Group to Acquire Significant Coal Reserves and Coal Transportation Assets," Red Orbit, December 14, 2006.
  21. Portfolio: Foresight Reserves, LP, The Carlyle Group, accessed October 12, 2010.
  22. John Lippert and Mario Parker, "Coal's Comeback," Washington Post, October 31, 2010
  23. John L. Lewis, "ExxonMobil sells Monterey coal mine – Will new owners keep the Union?" Union News, January 27, 2009
  24. "New Illinois Mines Could Boost State’s Production" Coal Age, March 24, 2011.
  25. "Gatling investing $75 million in mine facility," Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, accessed October 12, 2010
  26. Gatling Ohio responds to rumors about mine, Point Pleasant Register, accessed October 12, 2010
  27. Tim Landis, "Deer Run producing 'development coal'" State Journal Register, Apr 26, 2011.
  28. "CN to sell IC RailMarine Terminal's assets to Raven Energy" Progressive Railroading, June 16, 2011.
  29. Will Reynolds, "Illinois Mine Safety Head Took Thousands in Campaign Contributions from Coal Baron Chris Cline," Ecowatch, February 8, 2014.

Related SourceWatch articles

Related PRWatch articles

Gogebic Taconite and Wisconsin Mining Bill

External resources

External articles

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