Cline was described by Bloomberg as the "New King Coal" in 2010, for making a fortune off investments in Illinois coal mines.
He is buying locomotives, building a port on the Ohio River and designing his own ships to export coal abroad.
Cline also owns The Cline Group, a parent company to Hillsboro Energy and Gogebic Taconite.
In 2013, Foresight proposed a giant open-pit taconite (a type of iron ore) mine that would drain heavy metals and other pollutants into the Great Lakes, just six miles from territory owned by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indian Tribe. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that would streamline the mine permitting process in 2013. Republican State Senator Dale Schultz, who voted against the bill, said that, if his fellow Republican Senators "understood biology" they wouldn't have voted for the bill.
Cline's company – Foresight – gave $500,000 during the 2011-2012 election cycle, primarily to state-level campaigns and candidates.
"We in the industry probably do the worst job in the world getting out the story of the good lives we're helping people live," Cline says. "Changing that is certainly a big interest of mine."
Although Cline does not deny that climate change is real, Bloomberg reported that he was so annoyed that his children's teachers aired Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" in class that he asked them to distribute literature showing that climate change may be caused by clusters of sunspots or the Earth wobbling on its axis
Cline on Massey Energy's Don Blankenship: "Don thinks his convictions are morally correct and follows them...In some ways, people should admire it."