Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) has emerged as a key player in Romney’s policy circle, and is featured in Romney’s jobs plan writing about the importance of the coal industry. As Slack reports, Talent simultaneously maintains a lucrative career at a firm that represents Peabody, one of the largest coal companies in the world:
What the former Missouri senator’s essay does not mention is that the Washington lobbying and communications firm he leads as co-chairman, Mercury Public Affairs, counts among its clients Peabody Energy, a St. Louis-based company that is one the largest coal producers in the world.
Peabody Energy has paid Talent’s firm an average of $125,000 every year for the past five years to help represent its interests in Washington. The energy company also retains other firms, spending an average of $2 million each year on lobbying, records show.
As ThinkProgress Green’s Brad Johnson noted back in May, Romney has sought energy advice from other polluter lobbyists. One of them, Jeffrey Holmstead, has worked as a registered lobbyist for Duke Energy, Southern Company, and other fossil fuel giants.
Romney’s current energy policy includes polluter friendly ideas like “amending the Clean Air Act to exclude regulation of carbon and opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil production.”