Coal Co. Fires Lobbyist Firm Because EPA Already On Its Side

Typically, fossil fuel corporations hire lobbying firms to make sure that someone is advocating on their behalf to D.C. political leaders. However, what if the Environmental Protection Agency is already so full of former energy lobbyists that you don’t need to butter up anyone? Why you fire the lobbyists, of course!

HuffPost reports that Murray Energy, the nation’s top coal enterprise, has stopped doing business with the lobbying firm Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting. The timing of the breakup suggests not a crisis of conscience, but that Murray Energy realized it doesn’t need to put the money into lobbying while the Trump administration is in charge.

Specifically, the severed relationship occurred amidst the confirmation process to name Andrew Wheeler as the permanent leader of the EPA. Until 2017, Wheeler had a decades-long career working for and even leading Faegre Baker Daniels (oh look, a coincidence) in its coal lobbying efforts. Democrats have rightfully expressed concern over whether someone can transition from a coal advocate to being in charge of regulating the coal industry so quickly.

Judith Enck, a former regional administrator at the EPA, described the situation as Murray Energy “cut[ting] out the middleman.” She acknowledged, “They’ve [already] got their pro-coal guy in the driver’s seat at the EPA.”

With an established connection to Wheeler, Murray Energy presumably feels it’s a waste of, well, energy to pander further. Whereas the ethically challenged former EPA chief Scott Pruitt probably loved the special attention and covert kickbacks that coal lobbyists offer, Wheeler is confidently in the pocket.

Now you could argue that Wheeler might have a fairer outlook on coal in his capacity as EPA administrator, but the proof is in his actions. As Mother Jones reported, Murray Energy previously handed the Trump White House a wish list of eight agenda items that would make most environmentalists scream, and Wheeler has already finalized six of them in his tenure as acting director of the EPA.

How lucky that the EPA is willing to do pretty much whatever Murray Energy requests. In totally unrelated news, the company gave $1 million to a Trump PAC during the 2016 election and an additional $300,000 to Trump’s shady inauguration.

HuffPo also floats a theory that Murray Energy might be changing its representation to get around certain lobbying restrictions so it might have an easier time getting direct meetings with Wheeler. So far, that hasn’t seemed to pose much of an impediment for Murray Energy, but really, either way you slice it, it looks super corrupt.

As much as I love seeing a coal-lobbying firm kicked to the curb, it’s almost more alarming that it’s happened under these circumstances. When the country’s coal giant is so confident that leaders will be making decisions in their favor that it shifts is lobbying strategy, you know that the “environmental” heads aren’t actually concerned with the environment.

48 comments

Greta L
Alice L1 months ago

Thanks for posting this

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

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Emma L
Ellie L2 months ago

tyfs

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Paula A
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Daniel N
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill2 months ago

thanks

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Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

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Michael Friedmann
Michael F2 months ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Henry M
Henry M2 months ago

Like most regulatory agencies in the US (the FDA, the Federal Reserve), the EPA is being run by the people it should be policing. Perhaps next we will have someone from ISIS in charge of Homeland Security.

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