The head of a major coal mining company sent the Trump administration six suggested executive orders to stop or roll back environmental policies in the early days of Trump’s presidency.
Murray Energy Corp. CEO Bob Murray sent the documents to various federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year.
The drafted orders would have instructed the EPA to halt and consider repealing rules on coal pollution in waterways, coal ash disposal, mercury and other air pollutants from coal-fired power plants, ground-level ozone pollution and air pollution that crosses state lines.
Another draft would have pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement.
President Trump never signed or issued the orders, which were obtained by The Hill under the Freedom of Information Act.
But he did sign other executive orders, including ones instructing agencies to reconsider nearly all climate change policies. And the administration has implemented many of the policies Murray sought, including Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement and efforts to change numerous EPA policies that the coal industry has opposed.
Murray sent the orders to Energy Secretary Rick Perry March 28, 2017, shortly after Trump signed a wide-ranging order aimed at dismantling climate rules and other policies seen as obstructing production of fossil fuels and other forms of energy.
“We respectfully request that you review these materials, and enact them, as you deem appropriate,” Murray wrote.
“As you know, for many years now, we at Murray Energy Corporation have been leading the fight against the disastrous and illegal anti-coal regulations of the Obama administration, the vast majority of which remain in effect. We have developed expertise in this regard and offer our assistance to you.”
Murray also sent Perry a 14-point “action plan” for pro-coal policies, including overturning many regulations, eliminating the tax credit for wind power and undoing the EPA’s scientific finding that greenhouse gases are harmful to human health and the environment.
Many of those policies have at least started to be implemented by the administration, like boosting funding for “clean coal” technology and cutting staff at the EPA.
Greenwire first reported on the documents Wednesday.
Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent confirmed that the documents came from the CEO.
“Mr. Murray has always sought to secure reliable, low-cost electricity for all Americans, as well as to preserve and protect the jobs and family livelihoods of thousands of coal mining families,” Broadbent said.
“We applaud the actions taken by President Trump’s administration, to date, to protect these jobs and to advance the energy security of the United States.”
Murray has been a close ally of Trump’s and the two have met on multiple occasions.
He’s an outspoken opponent of former President Obama, having called him the “nation’s great destroyer” and pushing for his criminal indictment.
Murray has previously made news for his multiple lawsuits alleging defamation against him, including one against HBO host John Oliver.
BY TIMOTHY CAMA – 06/07/18