Steven Beshear - Kentucky
Coal is a big business in Kentucky, but Gov. Beshear has taken his allegiance to the industry too far.
Gov. Beshear’s administration fired the director of the state’s division of mine permits after he refused to issue permits under a controversial policy that allowed companies to begin mining before obtaining the legal right to enter all of the land in their plans.
The fired director sued under the state Whistleblower Act, and the state settled the lawsuit for $270,000.
Alliance Resource Partners, a coal producing company, had sought permits under the controversial rule. Documents filed as part of the whistleblower lawsuit hinted at the extent of the company’s influence on the Beshear administration’s decisions. The company recommended nominees who were appointed to a federal panel on mountaintop removal mining, and Gov. Beshear’s administration has also appointed other officials tied to Alliance to state positions.
- Elected in 2007; re-elected in 2011
- Administration fired the head of Kentucky’s division of mine permits after the director refused to issue permits under a controversial rule
- Allowed representatives of the coal industry to exert improper influence over official appointments