(July 5, 1958 July 4, 2019) was an Americanbillionaireentrepreneur and philanthropist. He had been the majority owner of Foresight Reserves LP, headquartered inSt. LouisMissouri.Regarded byBloombergas having been the New King Coal,Cline was considered to have been responsible for reviving theIllinoiscoal industry. His company has more than three billion tons of coal reserves across Illinois and the NorthernAppalachian Mountains.

Clines grandfather mined for coal with a pickaxe aroundBeckley, West Virginia, in the early 20th century. At the age of six, Clines father, Paul, asked him to fill a paper bag with dirt, paying him a penny for each bag. Cline dug the dirt from under the porch of their bungalow inIsaban, West Virginia. His father used the dirt bags in mine-blasting. Within two years, their porch had collapsed.5According to Cline, his father had told him to support the roof better. In 1980, Clines father bought out his partner then gave the shares to Cline, who was then 21 years old. At that time, he was studying psychology atMarshall UniversityinHuntington, West Virginia.3

Cline became an underground miner in 1980, at age 22, and founded his own energy development company, the Cline Group in 1990. In 2006 he organizedForesight Energyto manage his Illinois Basin coal rights. Foresight Energy went public in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange.6Cline sold off most of his share of Foresight in 2015, for $1.4 billion.7

Illinoisholds a 250-year supply of coal, providing the state with the largest recoverable coal reserve in the United States. In 2017, the state consumed nearly $1.4 billion of coal,8withcoal miningoperations located in 12 counties.9However, Illinois coal has too muchsulfurto be burned by most power plants because of pollution control requirements.5Cline, who spent $300 million on mining rights and equipment in Illinois in the 1990s, had foreseen that theUnited States Environmental Protection Agencywould require power plants to use scrubbers in removing pollutants, which would bring coal back into viability for electricity generation.

In 2005, Cline Group built its Williamsonlongwall miningoperation south of West Frankfort, Illinois.10

The company SNL Financial reported in 2008 that Deer Run coal mine inMontgomery County, Illinois, a project of Clines Hillsboro Energy LLC, would produce up to eight million tons annually until 2016. In the same report, Clines representatives stated he was aiming for an annual coal production of 60 million tons from his Illinois operations.11

Illinois environmental groups and landowners attempted to block Clines coal mine operations, and also sought to draw attention to his local political contributions.1213

Cline purchased a Nova Scotiametallurgical coalmine after selling off Foresight stock, as well as rights to coal reserves in Western Canada.7

Cline defended coal as a source of low-cost energy, saying in a 2010 interview As far as the social acceptability of coal, I like to think Im part of supplying the cheapest energy in America.3

In May 2011, the School of Medicine and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics ofWest Virginia Universityreceived a $5 million donation from Cline through his Cline Family Foundation. The donation created the Christopher Cline Chair inOrthopaedic Surgeryand helped fund a new basketball practice facility.14

In July 2011,Marshall Universityreceived a donation of $5 million from the Cline Family Foundation for sports medicine research.15

Cline remarried in 1993 after his first wifes death from cancer; his second marriage with Kelly Cline ended in divorce in 2000. Cline, who had two sons and two daughters, owned a 33,413-square-foot (3,104.2m2) mansion inNorth Palm Beach, Florida, and a home in his nativeBeckley, West Virginia, with a 150-acre (61ha) property.3Cline was a charter member of Brenton Southern Baptist Church.16

Cline also had a relationship withElin Nordegren, ex-wife of golferTiger Woods.17

Cline owned two megayachts that he christened Mine Games. The first was a 164-footer built by Trinity Yachts, delivered in 2008.18He sold the yacht in 2013, later purchasing another 205-foot (62m) larger luxury yacht that he also christened Mine Games.19Mine Games, which had five staterooms and its own submarine, was designed and built by Italy-basedBenettiin 2010. Cline sold the yacht in the fall of 2018.20

In 2015, Jasper Reserves, LLC, owned by Cline, donated one million dollars toSuper PACssupporting thepresidential candidacyofJeb Bush.21

On August 20, 2012, Vivek Shah was arrested for the attemptedextortionof Chris Cline,Harvey Weinstein, and three other individuals.22On or around June 26, 2012, Shah threatened to kill members of Clines family if $13 million was not wired to an offshore bank account.23A seven-count felony indictment against Shah was filed inU.S. District CourtinLos Angelesin September 2012, and in 2013 he was sentenced to seven years in prison.24

Cline was one of seven people killed in ahelicopter crashon July 4, 2019, off of his private island, Big Grand Cay inthe Bahamas, one day before his 61st birthday. Other victims were his 22-year-old daughter, Kameron and her three friends (Brittney Searson, Jillian Clark and Delaney Wykle). The sixth casualty was David Jude, a golfer and Chris Clines pilot; the seventh person remains unidentified.252627

Lippert, John (October 12, 2010).New King Coal.

Chris Cline became a billionaire by betting on a dirty fuel the world cant get enough of. With maps of 675 square miles of his Illinois mines before him, Chris Cline recalls the moment he knew the coal in those mines would be worth billions of dollars.

The Carlyle Group: Foresight Reserves, LP. Carlyle.com. Archived fromthe originalon July 21, 2011

Lippert, John (October 12, 2010).Cline Talking Clean as Coal Mines Supply Most Energy Since 1970. Bloomberg

Chris Cline Could Be The Last Coal Tycoon Standing, Christopher Helman,

Department of Commerce and Economic OpportunityCoal. . Archived fromthe originalon July 6, 2011

Foresight Energy Invests in Illinois. Coalage.com. December 7, 2010

Cassell, Barry (January 9, 2008).Clines Deer Run coal mine to produce up to 8 million tons per year. SNL

Rushton, Bruce (July 17, 2010).Activists raise concerns about coal mine slurry injection in Illinois.

Landis, Tim (April 25, 2011).Deer Run producing development coal

WVU academics receive $5,000,000 gift from Cline family. Wvutoday.wvu.edu. Archived fromthe originalon June 20, 2011

Cline Family Foundation makes $5 million gift to Marshall University for sports medicine research(Press release). Marshall.edu. July 20, 2011

Billionaire Chris Cline dies in a helicopter crash near the Bahamas, governor says, CNN, Faith Karimi and Sheena Jones, July 5, 2019

Billionaire Chris Cline, Elin Nordegrens Ex, Among 7 Dead in Bahamas Helicopter Crash.

Lippert, John (October 12, 2010).New King Coal. Bloomberg

62 metre Benetti motor yacht Mine Games sold.

Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race.

Time Waster.Man Busted In Harvey Weinstein Extortion Plot. The Smoking Gun

Time Waster.Vivek Shah Affidavit. The Smoking Gun

Dillon, Nancy (September 12, 2013).Man sentenced to 7 years for extortion plot against Harvey Weinstein, others. New York Daily News

Johnson, Alex (July 4, 2019).Billionaire coal executive and philanthropist Chris Cline dies at 60.

Wonderful man and great Republican: Chris Cline dies in helicopter crash,

Searching for answers in crash that killed Palm Beach County billionaire, his daughter and her friends.

Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in the Bahamas

Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019

Infobox person using certain parameters when dead

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