Wyoming Using Dark Money To Help Keep Coal Plants In Other States Open

“Stephanie Kodish is used to opposition to her work. In her job with the National Parks Conservation Association, she pushes utilities to comply with environmental laws. That can mean installing expensive new anti-pollution technology on coal plants, or even closing them down.

Last year, though, she encountered a completely new kind of opposition that left her disconcerted.

After years of feuding and lawsuits, the utility Entergy Arkansas Inc. had agreed to shut down two coal plants over the next decade. Weeks later, the Arkansas Attorney General and a local coalition called the Arkansas Affordable Energy Coalition intervened, asking a judge to stop the settlement. They argued that other fuel sources would be more expensive and less reliable.

But emails obtained through public records requests show the coalition represents more than just coal, gas and steel businesses in Arkansas. In fact, it was created by a nonprofit — the Energy Policy Network — whose largest financial contributor most years is the state of Wyoming, home to the coal mines that feed the two Arkansas plants slated for shut down.”

Cooper McKim and Andrew Graham report for NPR October 28, 2020.