Major Indiana coal company receives $10 million small business loan

April 29, 2020

Terre Haute-based Hallador Energy received $10 million from a federal loan program designed to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company received the money from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, a program designed to protect companies with 500 or less employees.

According to the Washington Post, the company has several hundred more employees than the standard firm awarded money by the program, and plans to use the loan to pay employees for two months.

The company said it expects at least 80% of the loan to be forgiven.

Hallador Energy is the parent company of Sunrise Coal LLC, Indiana’s second largest coal producer, which let go 60 employees in mid-March.

Hallador has at least two important links to the Trump Administration.

The company hired former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt as a lobbyist last year. Pruitt resigned in 2018 after facing numerous ethics violations investigations. Pruitt unsuccessfully tried in 2019 to persuade Indiana lawmakers to stop two utilities from going forward with plans to retire their coal-fired power plants in the next several years.

Hallador’s former government relations director, Suzanne Jaworowski, now works at the Energy Department as a “political liaison between the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Secretary of Energy, as well as the White House.” Jaworowski also served as the Indiana State Campaign Director for the Trump campaign in 2016.

The Trump administration has recently come under fire for approving small business loans to large corporations and organizations. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Small Business Administration would launch a “full review” of any Paycheck Protection Program loan exceeding $2 million.

Major Indiana coal company receives $10 million small business loan