The ‘King of Coal’ Threatens to Sue EPA For Lying About Climate Change

Jun 11, 2014 by

Robert Murray, the largest independent coal producer in the U.S., says science is on the side of ‘global cooling.’

Photo Credit: Barnaby Chambers / Shutterstock

The largest independent producer of coal in the U.S. insists that climate change is a lie, and he’s threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to make it shut up.

Robert Murray, the founder of Murray Energy, says that the EPA’s assertion that climate change exists violates the U.S. Data Quality Act, which requires government agencies to use only objective informational input to form its opinions. Murray asserts that the EPA’s new regulations on carbon emissions from existing coal plants violates the Act, saying the agency has lied about the existence of global warming to justify the regulations. Murray insists that the Earth is actually cooling.

The impending lawsuit was confirmed by a spokesperson for Murray Energy who spoke to ThinkProgress this week. 

Murray recently told a West Virginia business magazine that government claims that climate change exists violates federal law.

“Under the act, they are obligated to tell the truth, and they are not telling the truth about global warming. They are not telling hardly any truth about the science,” Murray told West Virginia Executive. “The Earth has actually cooled over the last 17 years, so under the Data Quality Act, they’ve actually been lying about so-called global warming. This lawsuit will force them to not just take data from the environmentalists and publish it, as they have been doing, but to review that data and make sure it’s accurate.”

Unfortunately for Murray, the science about “global cooling” has been widely debunked by the scientific community.

Back in 2009, there was a plot by climate-change deniers is to push this bogus ‘theory’ that the Earth is actually cooling, instead of warming. But the  temperature data they used was reviewed by independent statisticians (not associated with the climate scientists) and debunked. Instead, the statisticians found “a distinct decades-long upward trend,” which of course has been backed up by the world’s leading scientists for many years. However, the theory has since been  aggressively pushed by right-wing radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Murray is notably active in conservative politics and lobbies for pro-industry legislation through his company’s Political Action Committee. In May 2012, he hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for Mitt Romney during his run for the presidency, and later hosted Romney at his coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio. Several miners contacted a morning talk radio host to complain about the Romney event, saying that they were forced to attend the rally without being paid. Murray had closed the mine the day of the rally and suspended pay to workers, arguing that the rally was very important to the coal industry and that attending was in the workers’ “best interest.”

In October 2012, the non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Murray with the Federal Elections Commission for violations of federal campaign law in which employees of Murray Energy were supposedly required to give 1% of their salary to the company’s PAC.

Three days following Barack Obama’s defeat of Romney in 2012,  Murray laid off 156 workers, citing a supposed “war on coal” by the President.

Cliff Weathers is a senior editor at AlterNet, covering environmental and consumer issues. He is a former deputy editor at Consumer Reports. His work has also appeared in Salon, Car and Driver, Playboy, and Detroit Monthly among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @cliffweathers.

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