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Top coal exec slams 'destroyer' Obama, power plant rules

Top coal exec slams 'destroyer' Obama, power plant rules
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A top coal executive and frequent critic of Obama administration environmental regulations will slam the president Thursday as a “destroyer” of the coal industry and hit his key climate rule as “blatantly illegal.”

“There is no doubt that the administration of President Obama is the greatest destroyer and enemy of available, reliable, affordable electricity that the United States has every seen,” Robert Murray, the president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp., will say in a Thursday speech, according to an advanced copy provided to The Hill. 

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“I call what is occurring a ‘political power grab of America’s power grid.’”

In the speech, Murray will blame Obama and environmentalists for closing hundreds of coal-fired power plants around the country at “no environmental benefit whatsoever.” 

The Clean Power Plan — an Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to slash power sector emissions 32 percent by 2030 and predicted to hit coal especially hard — is “blatantly illegal,” Murray will say, vowing to defeat it in federal court. 

“We will overturn the illegal Clean Power Plan, the entire foundation for the Obama administration’s global warming legacy and its appeal at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Convention in Paris,” he'll say, referring to a climate change conference scheduled to conclude next month.

Murray is one of the loudest, most bombastic Obama critics in the coal industry. His company — the largest closely held coal producer in the country — has sued the administration over a string of its environmental regulations. 

Six of those suits, Murray says, are related to the Clean Power Plan. The climate rule is the cornerstone of Obama’s climate agenda, and the administration has defended both its legality and effectiveness in reducing carbon emissions while giving states leeway to craft energy plans that work for them.

But Murray says the rule amounts to executive overreach and said he’s confident it will fail when it goes before the courts. 

“Obama and his supporters are using a contrived environmental crisis as an excuse to seize federal control over traditional state functions,” he’ll tell a Texas Public Policy Foundation summit. 

“I am obviously not giving up. Nor should you. We have the law, science, economics, cold hard energy facts, and the Constitution on our side."