Murray Energy wish list becomes public

Source: Dylan Brown, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018

In March, Murray Energy Corp. CEO Robert Murray sent Vice President Mike Pence a 16-point action plan to help President Trump make good on his promise to put coal miners back to work.

Less than a year later, the Trump administration has taken action or raised questions about many points on the list.

Murray, an early and ardent Trump supporter, told E&E News about the delivering the action plan on Oct. 10, but it didn’t reach the public until yesterday, when The New York Times published the document, courtesy of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who had waged a campaign to obtain it.

“This list was to remain private, a list of things that needed to be done for reliable, low-cost electricity in America,” Murray told the Times.

“That was my No. 1 goal here,” he said, “was to give guidance to the administration in an area that I have observed over 60 years.”

The list aligns closely with the priorities Murray discussed with E&E News in October and actions taken by the Trump team (Greenwire, Oct. 10, 2017).

Of the Obama-era regulations that Murray asked to be eliminated, the administration has moved to kill the Clean Power Plan, ozone standards and the cross-state air pollution rule. Trump has also declared the U.S. will pull out of the international Paris climate accord.

The administration has prioritized funding “clean coal technologies” like high-efficiency, low-emission coal combustion, but at the same time cut funding for carbon capture and sequestration, which Murray considers a “boondoggle.”

“It does not work, practically or economically,” Murray wrote in the action plan. “Democrats and some Republicans use CCS as a political cover to insincerely show that they are proposing something for coal. But, carbon capture and sequestration is a pseudonym for ‘no coal.'”

Trump’s Labor Department has also started the work of overhauling the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, which Murray called “bloated and politicized.”