Trump Administration Caught In Major Corruption Scheme To Favor Trump’s Coal Donor
The Trump administration is planning to alter the U.S. electricity markets to favor a coal-mining company owned by Trump supporter Bob Murray. The plan would force taxpayers to subsidize Murray’s ailing coal-fired plants with billions of dollars, Politico reported Monday.
Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry claims the move is necessary to ensure that the nation’s power network can withstand threats like terrorist attacks or severe weather. But an analysis of Energy Department data conducted by Politico reveals that his narrowly written proposal would mostly affect plants in a stretch of the Midwest and Northeast where Murray’s mining company, Murray Energy, is the predominant supplier.
The company and its PAC together sent $200,000 to pro-Trump election efforts last year, while Bob Murray threw an invitation-only West Virginia fundraiser for Trump in 2016.
As reported by Politico:
“The proposal is Rick Perry’s most aggressive step yet toward helping President Donald Trump reverse what he has denounced as former President Barack Obama’s “war on coal.” But while it would stimulate demand for coal, it would also increase power prices for millions of customers.
The plan has stirred up opposition from an unlikely gathering of allies, including environmental groups, the natural gas, wind and solar industries and the American Petroleum Institute, normally one of the fossil-energy world’s most potent advocates in Republican politics. But it has drawn cheers from coal companies, particularly those with operations in Appalachia.”
Nora Mead Brownell, a Republican former electricity regulator, said that under Perry’s plan, “customers get less than nothing while a few companies and their investors get a whole lot of something.”
“Money that gets spent there doesn’t get invested in doing what you really need to do, which is upgrading the grid,” she said.
Bob Murray’s company declined to comment on its financial status or its communications with the Trump administration. But Bob Murray has publicly acknowledged that its future depends on whether Perry’s plan is approved and has attacked former President Barack Obama as “the greatest destroyer that America has ever seen.”
Since Trump’s swearing-in, Murray has had several face-to-face meetings with Trump and DOE officials, including Perry and Brian McCormack, Perry’s chief of staff.
According to the report, Murray personally urged Trump to declare a power grid emergency and force coal-fired power plants to stay open even if the company sank into bankruptcy. Those plants bought about two-thirds of their coal from Murray in 2015, according to Politico.
Last month, the Trump administration was caught in another major scandal after it awarded a $300 million contract to a small Montana energy firm tied to President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to restore Puerto Rico’s power grid.