Jeb Worked With Bloomberg Amid $50 Million Anti-Coal Campaign

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Presidential candidate and former Gov. Jeb Bush got into some hot water recently over his past work with a foundation run by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for its funding of Planned Parenthood.

What went unnoticed, however, was that Bush worked with Bloomberg as he gave millions to environmental groups to take down the coal industry.

Bush, who’s looking to win the Republican presidential nomination, served as a founding director of the Bloomberg Family Foundation — now called Bloomberg Philanthropies — from 2010 through 2014. During Bush’s second year with the organization, Bloomberg donated $50 million to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.

The Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign took Bloomberg’s money in 2011 to cut coal production 30 percent by 2020 through litigation, lobbying for more environmental regulations and activism. The Beyond Coal campaign has also targeted coal-fired power plants with litigation, most recently forcing the closure of the 200th coal plant in the country.

“The retirement of 200 coal plants nationwide represents the phase out of nearly 40 percent of the 523 U.S. coal plants that were in operation just five years ago,” according to the Club. News of the coal-fired power plant shutdown also excited Bloomberg himself.

“Every step we take to reduce coal use helps Americans breathe easier, and the 200th coal plant to announce its retirement since the launch of the Beyond Coal Campaign is a great milestone for public health and for the environment,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg actually promised $30 million more dollars to fund the Sierra Club’s anti-coal efforts. Bush, however, was not working with Bloomberg Philanthropies during this latest tranche of anti-coal funding.

Bush has come under fire in recent weeks for being a founding director of Bloomberg’s foundation while the group gave $50 million to support “reproductive health rights in Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.” The group worked with Planned Parenthood to send activists to poor countries to “help augment their capacity for effective advocacy.”

Bush’s connections to Bloomberg’s foundation resurfaced during the first Republican presidential debate when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked the former governor about his ties to the group while it funded abortion activists.

Bush told Kelly during the debate that his work with Bloomberg revolved around education.

“I joined the Bloomberg foundation because of Mike Bloomberg’s shared commitment for meaningful education reform,” Bush said. “That’s why I was on it. We never had a debate about the budget. It was presented and we approved it. Not item by item. Here’s my record. As governor of the state of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood.”

“No, I didn’t know, but it doesn’t matter,” Bush added. “I was working on this board because of the education. My record is clear. My record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute. I am completely pro-life, and I believe that we should have a culture of life.”

Bush’s campaign did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on his ties to Bloomberg Philanthropies while it funded anti-coal activities.

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