So much for Murray Energy
Last week I wrote about Robert Murray and Murray Energy's attempt to get relief for coal fired power plants from the Trump administration. If you follow the coal industry, this was an important story. As the Associated Press reported:
The Trump administration has rejected a coal industry push to win a rarely used emergency order protecting coal-fired power plants, a decision contrary to what one coal executive said the president personally promised him. . . .
One of Murray's letters said Trump agreed and told Energy Secretary Rick Perry, "I want this done" in Murray's presence.
I ended the post by speculating on what our local Ogden "newspapers" would do with this story:
There was no mention of this development in this morning’s Wheeling Intelligencer. It will be interesting to see how our local “newspapers” handle this story since they have become cheerleaders for the Trump administration. Will they run the AP report? Rewrite a Murray Energy press release? Publish some combination of the two? Or simply ignore the story?
Almost a week has passed and the Wheeling "newspapers" have not carried a single word about this decision by the Trump administration. (Nor does "Robert Murray" or "Murray Energy" show up in a search of recent articles on the Intelligencer's site.) This is unusual -- Ohio Valley readers of Ogden papers know the frequency and prominence of stories that Murray and his company have received for a number of years now. Obviously, supporting Trump (in this case by not carrying a story which questions his commitment to coal) now takes precedence over everything else even if it means ignoring a long-time favorite like Murray Energy.
In updating this, I did discover an interesting footnote to Murray Energy's efforts to get help from Trump. According to Politico:
An Ohio electric utility and one of the country's top coal companies had some well-placed help when pressing President Donald Trump for emergency federal assistance for the coal industry — his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The companies wanted Trump to prevent utilities from closing economically ailing coal-fired power plants, using authorities normally designed to protect the U.S. electricity supply during emergencies. And as they made their case, they got support from the former Trump aide, who has remained in the president's orbit despite being fired from his campaign more than a year ago.
Lewandowski denied in a message Friday that he is working for the companies, utility FirstEnergy and mining corporation Murray Energy. But his involvement in the issue alarmed some senior administration officials and others close to Trump, who saw his role as that of a lobbyist and believed he was being paid for the work.
Hey, you know the Trump administration does have its standards!