In light of Donald Trump‘s exit from the Paris Climate Agreement and his pledged support for coal miners during the 2016 presidential campaign, John Oliver decided to tackle the coal industry on the Sunday, June 18 episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” He highlights the sharp dividing line between what’s good for coal companies and what’s good for actual miners. And when you take a closer look, it appears that Trump is more of a friend to coal CEOs than to the workers they represent, in particular one CEO, Bob Murray, whose company actually wrote a “cease and desist” letter to “Last Week Tonight” that Oliver gleefully ignored. Watch his take on the coal industry above.
“Murray Energy has sued people in the past … In fact, Murray’s current general counsel told reporters that [the Akron Beacon Journal] had inflicted a potential economic loss of — and I am not making this up — $1 billion,” says Oliver. “So as we have been told to cease and desist, let us do neither of those things, and let’s talk about Bob Murray.”
The coal CEO claims to be a defender of the everyday coal worker, “but let’s take a look at his actions. Murray’s company recently unsuccessfully sued to block a rule aimed at reducing miners’ exposure to coal dust, which causes black lung, a disease that killed as many as 10,000 people between 1995 and 2005 … and if you even appear to be on the same side as black lung, you’re on the wrong f*cking side! That’s the equivalent of watching ‘My Girl’ and rooting for the bees.” Oliver also discusses a collapse at Murray’s Crandall Canyon Mine in 2007, which Murray insisted was caused by an earthquake. The government, however, determined that the collapse was caused by “unauthorized mining practices.”
But beyond the possible malfeasance of wealthy coal company executives, Oliver points out that advances in technology and energy priorities in general have led to a loss of coal jobs across the country, and that Trump’s attempts to save the coal industry are not only environmentally damaging, but also economically counterproductive and not even all that helpful to the out-of-work coal miners whose jobs Trump purports to save.
What do you think of Oliver’s take on the coal industry? Will he have to do a follow-up episode once Bob Murray sues him? Watch his segment above.’
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