Robert E. Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., has been a Donald Trump fan from day one and was elated after the election that the White House's inhabitant would finally be on his side after "eight years of pure hell under the Democrat Party and Obama".
The owner of America's largest coal mining operation took it upon himself to write an action plan for the new president, detailing each step the Trump administration should take to get the coal industry back on track.
The March 1, 2017 memo, signed by Murray and addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, lists 14 requests, including the elimination of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan; a United States withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement; and at least a 50 percent cut to the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Other major overhauls include “a withdrawal and suspension” of the endangerment finding, a landmark EPA determination requiring the agency to regulate carbon emissions, and eliminating a federal tax credit for windmills and solar panels.
Murray - who has labeled climate change "theology", "politics", and an "agenda" - was initially pleased with the administrations progress in following his plan:
Under Trump, the EPA has moved to delay or roll back more than two dozen environmental regulations — moves that in multiple instances have overlapped with items listed in the Murray memo.
But Trump's latest move to prop up struggling coal and nuclear power industries failed to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the plan's merit, and the proposal was ultimately rejected.
Murray was none too pleased with the decision:
“While FERC commissioners sit on their hands and refuse to take the action directed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Donald Trump, the decommissioning of more coal-fired and nuclear plants could result, further jeopardizing the reliability, resiliency and security of America’s electric power grids,” Murray said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“If it were not for the electricity generated by our nation’s coal-fired and nuclear power plants, we would be experiencing massive brownouts and blackouts in this country.”