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Coal Companies Seeking Help From Energy Dept. Rejected

One CEO says President Trump personally promised him relief
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 22, 2017 10:18 AM CDT
Coal CEO Says Trump Promised Help He's Not Giving
In this Feb. 16, 2017, photo, President Trump hands the pen he used to sign HJ Res. 38 to Kevin Hughes, general manager of the Murray Energy Corporation, second from right, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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, the AP reports. The Energy Department says it considered issuing the order sought by companies seeking relief for plants it says are overburdened by environmental regulations and market stresses. But the department ultimately ruled it was unnecessary, and the White House agreed, a spokeswoman said. The decision is a rare example of friction between the beleaguered coal industry and the president who has vowed to save it. It also highlights a pattern emerging as the administration crafts policy: The president's bold declarations—both public and private—are not always carried through to implementation.

President Donald Trump committed to the measure in private conversations with executives from Murray Energy Corp. and FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. after public events in July and early August, according to letters to the White House from Murray Energy and its chief executive, Robert Murray. In the letters, seen by the AP, Murray said failing to act would cause thousands of coal miners to be laid off and put the pensions of thousands more in jeopardy. One of Murray's letters said Trump agreed and told Energy Secretary Rick Perry, "I want this done" in Murray's presence. The White House declined to comment on Murray's assertion. A spokesman for Murray Energy also declined to comment on the letters. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said the agency was sympathetic to the coal industry's plight, but "the evidence does not warrant the use of this emergency authority." Click for more on the issue. (Read more coal stories.)

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