Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A tiny tear for the coal lobbyists

Politico reports that the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is doing layoffs:

A leading “clean coal” lobbying shop is cutting half its staff and reorganizing to reflect the U.S. coal industry’s market losses and the industry’s continued financial struggles. The 22-year-old American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity will lay off its chief of staff and also plans to eliminate several middle-management positions. The nonprofit is also seeking to get out of its lease for its downtown Washington office.

“Like many of our members, we are facing tough times that necessitate tough decisions on how best to effectively operate,” the group’s CEO, Michael Duncan, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement Monday morning to POLITICO. Duncan will retain his job at ACCCE, which will see its staff shrink to about eight “senior leaders.” “While leaner, this team will continue to execute strategic advocacy efforts ensuring that affordable, reliable coal-based electricity supplies America’s power for generations to come,” Duncan said. The most senior position to be eliminated is ACCCE chief of staff Robert Paduchik, who will leave at the end of the year.

My guess is the judges presiding over recent coal bankruptcies have decided the lobbyists can be cut loose, but Politico also mentions that some coal-affiliated organizations have become less coal-affiliated and dropped out of the Coalition.

Certainly couldn't happen at a better time. Their ability to screw up the 2016 elections in favor of massive coal pollution will be reduced, this subsidized industry will shrink, and a virtuous cycle will continue.

There's also the question of how effective ACCCE will be - seems like it might now consist of interns, receptionists, and VIPs who don't know the nuts and bolts of how things happen. I went and looked up their Form 990s, most recent is 2013. Revenue $21M, expenses $2M less, asset balance of $3.7M. Their budget in 2012 and 2011 was twice as big, suggesting some long-term struggles.

A far-thinking lobbying leader of a declining industry might build up the assets as much as one could while paying considerable salaries, and then continue to pay considerable salaries for the most senior leaders until the money runs out. Then turn the organization keys over to a recently-graduated, former intern.

Here's a snapshot from 2013:

Not a bad salary for Mr. Duncan, but I'm sure the workers in the mines and in the unemployment lines are glad for the top-notch representation.

We'll see how things play out in 2015 and 2016, although it'll be a few years before we get to see the goods.

Ending for your amusement with their own brief description of ACCCE's mission:  "ADVOCATE PUBLIC POLICIES THAT ADVANCE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT, ENERGY PROSPERITY, & ENERGY SECURITY".  Right there on page 1 - how can you argue with that, warmists?


Barton Paul Levenson said...

Nelson Muntz voice: HA ha!

John said...

This is great news.

And unexpected news also, at least I didn't expect it.

I would have expected the coal companies to deal with recent defeats by increasing the budget for PR and lobbying.

Brian said...

Hi John - I wouldn't be surprised if the non-bankrupt coal companies had increased their giving, but even so it was outweighed by defaults from bankrupt companies that lost control over their expenditures, and defection by utilities that are moving away from coal.

Some of these top people with ACCCE may already be looking around for their next gig.