An investigation into whether coal-fired power plants have broken federal environmental laws shows that they are not.
The investigation found that the coal industry has long been an ally of environmental groups, which have long relied on the coal companies for their funding.
In recent years, coal companies have also provided funding to groups like the League of Conservation Voters.
The investigations report that in the 2016 election cycle, coal-funded groups spent nearly $3.3 million on elections and lobbying.
The coal industry, however, has been much less active in the environmental movement.
It has funded only six organizations and spent less than $1 million in this category in the past two decades.
The lack of support from coal-backed groups has led to some environmental groups to question whether coal companies are really committed to protecting the environment.
“They’re just not paying attention to it,” said Mark Levenson, director of coal policy at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“In fact, they’re trying to undermine it.”
In recent decades, coal industry contributions to environmental groups have dwindled, according to the Center’s report.
According to the report, in the 2015 cycle, the coal-based coal industry gave $4.7 million to the environmental groups that support environmental protections.
In the 2016 cycle, however — the most recent year for which data is available — coal companies gave just $3,000.
In total, the groups spent $1.4 million on campaigns to protect the environment, and the coal corporations contributed $1,769,500 to these campaigns, the report found.
In an email sent to Ars, a representative for the American Coal Association, the largest coal-related industry lobbying group, denied the report’s findings and said the coal sector’s support of environmental issues is “substantial.”
“The coal industry is committed to addressing the environmental challenges that face America today,” the representative said.
“The industry supports a wide range of initiatives that address our nation’s climate crisis and support clean energy, including a number of federal policies and regulations designed to support a cleaner energy economy.”
The report also found that coal companies do not have a significant presence on the boards of environmental organizations, despite their political donations.
In fact, the industry’s board of directors is dominated by industry leaders.
The study found that of the 11 coal companies on the board of the Environmental Working Group, four are executives of the companies that have spent the most money to oppose climate change policies.
Among these companies is the New York-based Midstream Partners, which spent $6.3 m in 2016 on lobbying, and was led by Charles M. Koch, who was a board member of the American Petroleum Institute, a lobby group that receives the bulk of its funding from fossil fuel companies.
The other three are ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Peabody Energy, which received $1 m in total.
The report found that, despite coal companies’ political donations, coal groups have generally been unsuccessful at protecting their environment.
For example, in 2016, coal lobbyists funded the only two coal-aligned groups to fight the Clean Power Plan, a landmark regulation aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants.
“There are a number groups that have made significant efforts to fight climate change, but they’ve been unsuccessful in that,” Levenston said.
And in fact, a large number of coal companies that were funding climate change campaigns also funded environmental groups.
“A lot of coal-focused groups have been funded by coal companies and their allies,” he said.