Coal companies still own Trump and his conservative bubbas


Rick Perry [L] and Robert Murray [R]

❝ Scott Edelman’s pictures show Robert Murray, who donated $300,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, give Perry an “action plan.” Murray’s company has previously lobbied the Trump administration to end new federal public health protections for greenhouse gas emissions and smog pollution, loosen mine safety rules, and cut the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency by “at least half.”

Perry and Murray shook hands, hugged and agreed to get it done. Then they kept everything that happened that day a secret.

If this raises a few flags for you, then you understand the predicament I was in when I was still employed at DOE in March 2017. I thought about it and decided to release the photos and the story to the public, after which I was placed on leave and then fired. My personal laptop was seized (though it was recently returned to me), and I was subjected to intimidation tactics from DOE staff.

❝ Some of the policies Murray’s company has advocated for have been faithfully executed without research, thoughtful public comment periods or policy input from public health professionals. President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement on climate that cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions globally, and his administration gave notice of repealing the landmark Clean Power Plan, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants nationwide. The Trump administration attempted to delay, but was eventually forced to proceed due to lawsuits, clean air protections against smog pollution. The President also nominated a coal company consultant to oversee national mine safety and began cutting EPA scientists and other career agency staffers in droves.

Who expects different from Trump – or the Republicans in charge of Congress?

8 thoughts on “Coal companies still own Trump and his conservative bubbas

  1. Regulatory capture says:

    Coal, nuclear plant operator files for bankruptcy, asks Trump for a bailout : FirstEnergy’s request comes after regulator struck down an industry-wide bailout plan. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/coal-nuclear-plant-operator-files-for-bankruptcy-asks-trump-for-a-bailout/ If the DOE were to issue an emergency order in favor of FirstEnergy, PJM would have to negotiate with each plant to acquire and resell its power. The Wall Street Journal notes that this would save jobs throughout FirstEnergy plants, but it would also likely lead to higher electricity bills for customers throughout the region. The WSJ also notes that one of FirstEnergy’s biggest coal suppliers is Murray Energy, whose CEO has donated significantly to Trump’s political groups. Murray Energy reportedly made a similar request for emergency action from the DOE last year, although that request was denied.

    • R. Kilowatt says:

      (6/1/18): “President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables.” https://www.utilitydive.com/news/breaking-trump-orders-perry-to-stop-coal-nuclear-retirements/524805/ “The president on Friday told Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the plants from retiring, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.”
      The announcement comes the same day as the release of a draft White House memo outlining a plan to bail out coal and nuclear plants using DOE’s emergency powers under the Federal Power Act and a Cold War-era law that permits it to nationalize parts of the power sector.” https://www.scribd.com/document/380740746/DOE-Coal-Nuke-Subsidy-Plan-1
      “…According to Bloomberg, the memo added that these coal and nuclear plants are being replaced by natural gas and renewable power generation that is not secure or resilient.
      Such a statement has been contradicted by several power grid operators, including PJM, one of the largest independent system operators in the country. The recent “bomb cyclone” system of extremely cold weather in the Northeast this winter showed off that the grid could operate well despite coal retirements. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/06/report-department-of-energy-recommends-bail-out-of-failing-coal-plants/
      It remains unclear whether President Trump has signed off on the 41-page memo, but critics say guaranteeing revenue for a large number of uneconomic generators could unravel wholesale power markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a similar bailout proposal from the White House earlier this year. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/trump-administration-preparing-2-year-coal-nuke-bailout/524788/

      • Adam Smith says:

        A coalition of almost a dozen energy groups from across a broad spectrum — oil and gas, wind and solar, and energy storage — issued a joint statement blasting the proposal as unprecedented and misguided “crony capitalism” when no emergency exists. The groups, including the America Petroleum Institute, American Council on Renewable Energy, American Wind Energy Association, Natural Gas Supply Association and Solar Energy Industries Association, said processes are already in place to safeguard the grid. http://www.api.org/news-policy-and-issues/news/2018/06/01/oil-wind-solar-condemn-action-to-subsidize-failing-coal-nuclear-plants

        • Oinkers says:

          Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt luxuriated in a coal baron’s pricey ringside basketball seats last year as he and President Donald Trump have sought to dismantle a system of environmental regulations that coal companies oppose, The New York Times reported. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/02/us/scott-pruitt-coal-joseph-craft.html The coal billionaire visited Pruitt at least seven times during the EPA chief’s first 14 months in office, more than Pruitt met with any representative of an environmental organization, according to the Times. In October, Mr. Pruitt traveled to Mr. Craft’s childhood hometown, Hazard, Ky., where, with Mr. Craft in the audience, he announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. A month earlier, Mr. Pruitt postponed enforcement of a rule barring coal-powered plants from dumping toxic metals into rivers, a move requested by a coal industry group with Mr. Craft on its board.

  2. Molly says:

    New research from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado Boulder finds that steep declines in the use of coal for power generation over the past decade were caused largely by less expensive natural gas and the availability of wind energy – not by environmental regulations. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/ncsu-ngp050318.php
    “From 2008 to 2013, coal dropped from about 50 percent of U.S. power generation to around 30 percent,” says Harrison Fell, an associate professor of resource economics at NC State and co-lead author of a paper on the work.
    “Coal boosters blamed stiffer regulations, calling it a ‘war on coal.’ But that same time period saw a steep drop in the cost of natural gas and an increase in wind generation. We wanted to know how big a role each of these factors played in driving down the demand for coal.”

  3. Molly Maguire says:

    “It Appears That The Worst Kind Of Black Lung Disease In Coal Miners Is On The Rise” http://allthatsinteresting.com/black-lung-disease-increase Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF), is the most debilitating and deadly form of black lung disease. Reasons for this resurgence are unclear. But it could have something to do with miners working longer hours and more days per week. The affected miners also tend to work in smaller operations, which may invest less in dust reduction systems. The study found that most miners with PMF worked in mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

  4. Romans 2:8 says:

    “Jobs Alliance,” Funded by Trump Backer, Tries to Block Gas Plants That Would Bring Jobs to West Virginia” (Charleston Gazette-Mail Sept. 28, 2018) https://www.propublica.org/article/jobs-alliance-tries-to-block-gas-plants “Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal producers, is paying for lawyers trying to block natural gas plants that would support a growing industry. Murray Energy’s founder and CEO is Robert E. Murray, who is among the nation’s best-known advocates for reviving the coal industry and cutting regulations related to it.

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