Coal Company to File Frivolous Lawsuit Against EPA


From the Annals of What the Fuck Are You Thinking: The CEO of Murray Energy, one of the largest coal producers in the country, is planning to sue the EPA on the grounds that they’ve been lying about global warming. Because the earth is really getting cooler. Seriously.

The owner of the largest independent coal producer in the U.S. is threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over its new regulations on carbon emissions from existing coal plants, saying the agency has been lying about the existence of global warming, and that the earth is actually getting colder.

In an extended profile published last month, Murray Energy Corp. founder Robert Murray told WV Executive that the EPA’s claims that climate change exists violates the federal Data Quality Act, which requires agencies to rely on quality, objective information to inform its decisions.

“Under the act, they are obligated to tell the truth, and they are not telling the truth about global warming,” Murray reportedly said. “They are not telling hardly any truth about the science. 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.”

Murray added, “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.”…

A spokesperson for Murray Energy confirmed to ThinkProgress on Tuesday that Murray does believe the earth is cooling, and that the company is planning sue the EPA over its statements.

Yeah, good luck with that one. You might want to look up the phrase “Daubert challenge.”

Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    This is a great idea. Hopefully, the coal company will call witnesses like Judith Curry, Pat Michaels, Roy Spencer, and John Christy to suffer the same humiliation that Michael Behe did in Dover. Maybe they can call Sir Lancelot as an “expert” witness.

  2. sundoga says

    Oh, this could be a VERY good thing. A Federal court officially finding that climate change IS happening? And that the EPA is right about it? Say goodbye to any legal credibility the climate deniers have.

  3. timberwoof says

    If this actually goes to trial, this may be the Kitzmiller v. Dover of the global warming denialists.

  4. Doug Little says

    Yep, I love it when the right wing echo chamber finally spills forth someone so deluded by their own lies it can only lead to humiliation and defeat. Unskewed polls guy and Karl Rove are gonna thank him if he goes through with it.

  5. Randomfactor says

    Make sure they got stuck with court costs and the EPA might do well to hire some EXPENSIVE outside legal help.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    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.

    The “environmentalists” mentioned include NASA and NOAA, by the way.

  7. daved says

    This claim is probably based on some dishonest manipulation of data of various measures of global temperature variation

    Almost certainly. It’s not a coincidence that he picked “the last 17 years,” which you’ll have to admit is a rather odd choice. There was one very anomalously warm year in the 90s, and I think it was 1997. What a coincidence.

  8. freemage says

    Shhhh… Don’t make too much noise about this one, folks, until he’s filed the suit. It could be GLORIOUS.

  9. raven says

    The Murry CEO is a real kook.

    Why Robert Murray Fired Workers » Politics Plus
    www. politicsplus. org/blog/2012/11/…/why-robert-murray-fired-workers/

    Nov 10, 2012 – When coal executive, Robert Murray, wasn’t insuring some of his workers will be … he was threatening his employees with termination if Obama wins to … A Reddit poster says that he was among the workers laid off at one of …

    He threatened to fire his workers if Obama was elected. Then he fired them. The real reason is because Murray Energy isn’t making much profits.

    Utah Mine Collapse – Huffington Post
    www. huffingtonpost .com/news/utah-mine-collapse/

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The operator of the Utah mine that collapsed in 2007, killing nine people, has reached a $949,351 settlement with the federal ….

    Murray Energy also ran a dangerous coal mine in Utah which collapsed, killing 9 people.

  10. outeast says

    A Federal court officially finding that climate change IS happening?

    (sundoga)

    Except that wouldn’t be the court’s place to rule (and nor should it be). As Ed suggests, the obvious move would be a Daubert motion, and that would focus on the expert status of the witnesses and not on the actual science itself.

    What’s more, I’m guessing that no ‘big guns’ would take the bait – it’d be career suicide to be on the receiving end of a Daubet ruling. I’d expect a couple of cranks from the fringes… with the self-anointed ‘real experts’ keeping well clear of the courtroom but sniping from the sidelines about activist judges, witch hunts, etc.

    I’m a cynic as well as a skeptic.

  11. D. C. Sessions says

    Murray Energy also ran a dangerous coal mine in Utah which collapsed, killing 9 people.

    Well, you can’t say he wasn’t cutting costs.

  12. raven says

    Coal companies aren’t making much money right now. But what has been eating their lunch is:

    1. Fracking. The USA is floating in cheap natural gas right now.

    2. New sources of energy. Wind and solar have become competitive with fossil fuels. So much so that the fossil fuel companie are trying to stop them by passing laws, e.g. Oklahoma.

    Even if Murray managed to win his lawsuit against the EPA, it wouldn’t matter. Murray Energy still wouldn’t make any more money.

  13. sundoga says

    Outleast, surely (absent a Daubert ruling annihilating the entire case) by the act of suing over it, Murray would be calling the existence of Global Anthropogenic Climate Change into legal question, would he not? Thus, if the EPA then proved it really WAS happening, and the Judge agreed, thus ruling in favour of the EPA, that WOULD be a court finding of the existence of GACC, wouldn’t it? I admit, I’m not a lawyer so maybe I’m overthinking this or not getting something.

  14. says

    daved “There was one very anomalously warm year in the 90s, and I think it was 1997.” & Doug Little “Twas 1998.”
    To be fair, Algore just cooled the years around that year, by, I assume, being fat, to make the Earth look like it’s warming now.

  15. Childermass says

    And of course some of the pro-industry/anti-science witnesses can be asked if they think smoking is hazardous.

  16. parasiteboy says

    John Pieret@5 Thanks for the website, that’s a nice breakdown of the data manipulation.

    It also made me realize that a lot of times people conflate weather and climate. The most egregious example is when someone comments on a big snowstorm and makes a snarky comment about “how can global warming be happening when we have all this snow”.

    I’m pretty sure I could plot a flat regression line for the 1980-1995 for the Solheim graph if I wanted.

  17. Doubting Thomas says

    The “environmentalists” mentioned include NASA and NOAA, by the way.

    Surely they are referring to the Pentagon.

  18. parasiteboy says

    I do think the government has dropped the ball on the amount of funding for basic research on carbon sequestration for fossil fuel burning power plants. I have not read about any new technologies and would be curious if anyone else has seen anything.

  19. pocketnerd says

    No matter the outcome, the deniers can still spin this as a victory. Case goes against them? Why, it’s another case of BLACK-ROBED TYRANTS trying to DECLARE SCIENTIFIC TRUTH BY JUDICIAL FIAT. And if they win the case, why, that judge suddenly becomes the Pious and Holy One True Arbiter of Truth, and he wasn’t fooled by those dumb ivory-tower science dorks and their capitalism-hating Agenda 21 lies.

  20. scienceavenger says

    @8 and @10 Yes, isn’t it interesting how the data range they use keeps changing. One would think they never took a statistics 101 course or something.

  21. Doug Little says

    scienceavenger @24,

    Wait until El Nino kicks in again it’s gonna make 1998 look positively frigid and give them another favorite starting data point going forward.

  22. colnago80 says

    Re #8 @ #10

    The year 1998 was an anomaly because of an extra strong El Nino, which we are also facing this year. I point this out every time the blog’s resident climate change denier Sir Lancelot shows up and he, of course, without fail declines to respond. Here’s a link to a post by Donald Prothero who has been studying climate issues for 30 years. Prothero totally debunks the claim that there has been a real pause in the temperature increases, detailing the 1998 anomaly.

    http://www.skepticblog.org/2014/04/22/global-warming-has-paused-not/

  23. D. C. Sessions says

    In a recent interview, NOAA’s ENSO expert said that they’ve backed off on the expected strength of the El Niño that they’re 80% sure is on the way. Has to do with the temperature/depth profile across the Pacific.

    Could be nothing, still could be honking big, more likely big but not spectacular. However, it will be building on another 15 years of heat buildup.

  24. Michael Heath says

    I would love for this to go for trial, for the same reasons I looked forward to the Dover trial.

  25. Michael Heath says

    There’s a lot of confusion out there regarding 1998. It was the hottest year only by way of the least representative surface air observations, HADCRUT3. HADCRUT3 doesn’t do well in the Arctic which is the fastest heating part of the globe. Other more recent years also matched ’98 with the most more representational models. There’s a reason denialists falsely frame their arguments as if no other observations were made beyond HADCRUT3, though a reasonable person can still clearly see through their lies.

    In addition the differences between the various temp. sources between those later years and 1998 is miniscule and finally, one year is a piss-poor way to discuss trends. Decadal changes are far better way to discuss climate trends given the noise inherent in the system, e.g., ENSO.

  26. Trebuchet says

    There are times I’m really glad I’m old. LIke every time I read about AGW.

  27. parasiteboy says

    Decadal changes are far better way to discuss climate trends given the noise inherent in the system, e.g., ENSO.

    And Multi-decadal changes since there are other oscillations that occur at different temporal scales.

    In addition the differences between the various temp. sources between those later years and 1998 is miniscule and finally, one year is a piss-poor way to discuss trends.

    But you consider it a non “piss-poor way” to start at 1998 to minimize the warming that has occurred?

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