Coal executive’s plan finds success with Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the early days of the Trump administration, the head of one of America’s largest coal companies sent a four-page “action plan” to the White House calling for rollbacks of Obama-era environmental and mine safety regulations.

“We have listed our suggested actions in order of priority,” Robert “Bob” Murray, the chairman and CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, wrote in his March 1 letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence. “We are available to assist you and your administration in any way that you request.”

A review of the memo by The Associated Press shows Murray, an early campaign supporter of President Donald Trump and major GOP political donor, has gotten about half the items on his wish list. They include pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accords and revoking the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature effort to limit planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Murray has spoken widely about his policy priorities in the intervening months, but a copy of his four-page plan became public this week after it was obtained by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and first reported by The New York Times.

Under Trump, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has also moved to reconsider rules meant to protect miners from breathing coal and rock dust — the primary cause of black lung disease — and diesel exhaust, which can cause cancer.