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Public Statements

Letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz - Shelby To Ensure No Taxpayer Funds Used for War on Coal in AL

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Amid multiple media reports that the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation funded environmental groups waging a stealth "War on Coal" in Alabama, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, requesting an accounting of taxpayer funds provided to these same groups through federal grants. The groups bankrolled by the Energy Foundation have disrupted several Alabama Public Service Commission hearings regarding utility rate structures under the pretext of protecting consumers in Alabama.

"While independent organizations are free to spend their money and advocate in whatever manner that they wish, my concern is that some of the organizations now waging a war against coal in Alabama are also receiving federal funds in the form of grants from your department," Shelby wrote to Moniz. "Accordingly, I ask that you investigate these organizations' use of the grant funding that they have received from your department to ensure that they are spending their federal grant dollars in accordance with the law and their intended purpose. I also further ask that you write back to me with your findings in this regard. To assist you in this undertaking, I have enclosed a letter I received from a group of my constituents more fully describing these concerns."

The text of Shelby's letter to Moniz is below.

December 13, 2013

The Honorable Ernest Moniz
Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Mr. Secretary:

I write to express my concern that federal grant funds awarded by the Department of Energy may have been misallocated to improper political advocacy by special interest groups seeking to undermine the coal industry in my home state of Alabama.

Recently, it has come to light that these groups, who previously claimed to be operating at the behest of the people of Alabama, actually received millions of dollars in funding from the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation, which is a "clean energy" advocacy organization that is actively seeking to undermine our domestic coal industry. Not coincidentally, it would seem, these organizations have actively pursued the same anti-coal agenda in Alabama.

Aside from the thousands of jobs that the coal industry provides in my state, it is also instrumental in supplying affordable electricity to all of Alabama's citizens and businesses. The link between affordable electricity and economic growth and job creation is undeniable. Thus, it is of great concern to me when large out-of-state organizations seek to impose their detrimental agenda on the people of the State of Alabama. It is even more concerning still that these organizations could possibly be using taxpayer dollars to do so.

While independent organizations are free to spend their money and advocate in whatever manner that they wish, my concern is that some of the organizations now waging a war against coal in Alabama are also receiving federal funds in the form of grants from your department. Accordingly, I ask that you investigate these organizations' use of the grant funding that they have received from your department to ensure that they are spending their federal grant dollars in accordance with the law and their intended purpose. I also further ask that you write back to me with your findings in this regard. To assist you in this undertaking, I have enclosed a letter I received from a group of my constituents more fully describing these concerns.

I thank you for your time and attention to my request. Should you need any further information please feel free to call upon me at any time.

Sincerely,

Richard Shelby
United States Senator


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