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Trump accused of breaking promise to coal industry CEO
The CEO of “the largest coal mining company in America” believes President Trump has broken his promises to miners, The Associated Press reports. Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray claims he told Trump that without the White House invoking an obscure emergency order to protect coal-fired power plants, he would have to lay off more than 6,500 miners. Murray allegedly convinced Trump, and Trump told his energy secretary, Rick Perry, three times that “I want this done.”
The order allows “the Energy Department to temporarily intervene when the nation’s electricity supply is threatened by an emergency such as war or natural disaster” by offering a temporary exemption of “power plants from obeying environmental laws,” AP writes.
Murray argued that his biggest customer, the coal-burning FirstEnergy Solutions, faces bankruptcy. “As stated, disastrous consequences for President Trump, our electric power grid reliability, and tens of thousands of coal miners will result if this is not immediately done,” Murray wrote in letters reviewed by AP.
The Trump administration ultimately rejected invoking the emergency order, deeming it an unnecessary response. “We look at the facts of each issue and consider the authorities we have to address them, but with respect to this particular case at this particular time, the White House and the Department of Energy are in agreement that the evidence does not warrant the use of this emergency authority,” said an Energy Department spokeswoman.
Trump has long been considered the “savior” of the coal industry, although Paul Waldman writes for The Week that “the truth is that … coal jobs were mostly lost to automation and aren’t coming back.” Jeva Lange