Whitehouse Demands Coal Baron’s Marching Orders for EPA
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) called on Bob Murray, Chairman of Murray Energy, to provide a copy of the three-page “action plan” he gave to President Donald Trump. Murray first identified the existence of the plan in the Frontline documentary “War on the EPA,” which aired last month. The plan was the topic of questioning at yesterday’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wheeler, who served as a lobbyist for Murray Energy until earlier this year, testified that he had seen the document but did not have a copy of it.
Today’s request follows a pair of October 27 letters from Whitehouse and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) to the White House and EPA asking for copies of the plan before Wheeler’s hearing. To date, the White House has not responded to the Senators’ request, and EPA has indicated that it continues to search agency files.
Full text of Whitehouse’s letter to Murray is below. A PDF copy is available here.
November 9, 2017
Robert E. Murray
Chairman, President & CEO
Murray Energy Corporation
46226 National Road
St. Clairsville, Ohio 43950
Dear Mr. Murray:
In the PBS Frontline documentary “War on the EPA,” you stated that you had given to President Trump “an action plan, very early, about three and a half pages about what he needed to do in his Administration.” Frontline reported that at the top of the list was repealing the Clean Power Plan. As you know, President Trump has nominated longtime Murray Energy lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing this week to consider Mr. Wheeler’s nomination, at which he testified that he had seen the plan but did not have a copy in his possession.
So that we and other members of the EPW Committee may have all relevant information to consider Mr. Wheeler’s nomination, we request a copy of your “action plan” not later than November 16, 2017. Since it has been shared with President Trump, it is hard to imagine there is any valid privilege for withholding the document.
Further, although it is also unclear that there is a valid privilege to be asserted against questioning Mr. Wheeler about his knowledge, or role in development, of the plan, to the extent that Murray Energy believes that its privileges may be implicated, we also respectfully request that the Company release Mr. Wheeler from any attorney-client or work-product privilege that may limit his ability to answer such questions.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.
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