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.

44 comments

Daniel N
Daniel N3 days ago

thank you

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H4 days ago

thanks

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Toni W
Toni W8 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W8 days ago

TYFS

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Michael Friedmann
Michael F9 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Henry M
Henry M10 days 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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Janis K
Janis K12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Susanne R
Susanne R12 days ago

Steve C. - No need to apologize. Your comment has some great information in it, and for some reason Care2 Causes doesn't provide any formatting tools for commenters to use. I used to be able to provide actual "click-on" links to the articles I would reference. Now I have to copy and paste the URL into my comment and hope that anyone who might read it will cut and paste it into their browser or, if they can, highlight it, right click on it, and when the dropdown menu appears, left-click on the prompt that allows you to let Google open up the site in another window.

I was able to access the first article you referenced in a matter of seconds by highlighting the title (in this case, "Mountaintop Mining is Destroying More Land for Less Coal, Study Finds," and following the instructions outlined in my first paragraph. The same was true for every title you provided.

I'm not an expert on anything, but IMHO, you're doing a great job and providing great information! I think many members will agree.

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Steve C
Steve C13 days ago

Sorry for the bad formatting. It looked better before I posted it and I cannot find a way to go back and edit it

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Steve C
Steve C13 days ago

Lets see:
Mountaintop Mining Is Destroying More Land for Less Coal, Study Finds
InsideClimate News-Jul 26, 2018
Strip mining across the mountaintops of Appalachia is scarring as much as ... coal seams, then shove the waste rock into valleys and streams.

US: Deregulating Mountaintop Removal Threatens Drinking Water ...
Human Rights Watch-Dec 9, 2018
Mountaintop removal mining involves annihilating up to 400 vertical feet of ... The massive amount of waste rock is dumped into valleys, forming ...

Revolt in West Virginia's Coal Country
RollingStone.com-Apr 30, 2018
The waste rock of a nearby mountaintop-removal mining site, latent with hazardous elements like selenium, is dumped into valleys, where the ...

NRDC: Pruitt Moves to End Protections from Waste Dumping
Natural Resources Defense Council-Jun 27, 2018
NRDC: Pruitt Moves to End Protections from Waste Dumping ... such as mountaintop-removal coal mining from destroying streams, estuaries or ...
Pruitt restricts EPA veto power on wetland permits
E&E News-Jun 27, 2018

Why Trump just killed a rule restricting coal companies from dumping ...
Vox-Feb 2, 2017
And there's growing evidence that when mining debris and waste gets ... Mountaintop removal mining: An explosive is detonated at an A & G ...
Will Undoing The Stream Protection Rule Really Help Coal?
In-Depth-Forbes-Feb 3, 2017

Washington Post
Pruitt seeks to limit EPA’s authority to

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