Salon Investigation Finds GCC Energy’s Approval To Extend Mine Operations Bypassed Regular Channels After The Company’s CEO Supported Trump’s Wall, GCC’s Lobbying Firm WilmerHale Has Trump Connections
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Salon is reporting today that Mexican Company Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) got notably rapid federal approval to expand one of its Colorado mines in 2017 after GCC’s CEO publicly promised to support the construction of President Trump’s controversial border wall. The story also reports that GCC employs lobbying firm WilmerHale, which has close ties to the Trump family and administration.
“Even by the Trump administration’s standards, trading a coal mine for the border wall is a shocking level of corruption,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Our public lands belong to all Americans, not to foreign corporations that pander to the President by pledging allegiance to his divisive and dangerous political agenda.”
According to the story, in November 2016 GCC’s CEO Enrique Escalante said that the company “would lend its services to build the 2,000-mile wall on the U.S. southern border.” One year later, in December 2017, GCC got approval for a 950-acre expansion of its King Coal II Mine near Hesperus, Colorado from Interior Department headquarters in Washington, DC. Usually, such approval comes from the Bureau of Land Management’s state office in Denver, not from national headquarters.
Salon also reports that GCC Energy uses Trump-connected lobbying firm WilmerHale to lobby Congress and the Trump administration and that GCC’s lobbyist at WilmerHale, Raya Treiser, has met with multiple high-level Interior officials.
WilmerHale represents the President’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and also represented former Trump Campaign Chair and convicted felon Paul Manafort. Moreover, the Interior Department’s Trump-appointed Inspector General, Gail Ennis, was formerly a WilmerHale partner. Ennis, who has donated to Trump’s campaigns, has cracked down on IG staff speaking with reporters.
Learn more about the special interests and lobbyists running rampant at Trump’s Interior Department at DepartmentofInfluence.org, a project of Western Values Project, Accountable.US’s public lands watchdog group.