Coal Baron Wants Court Date Moved So He Can Attend The RNC

Robert Murray is suing the Environmental Protection Agency, but he's willing to wait until after the Republican confab for his day in court.

WASHINGTON -- Robert Murray, the chief executive of coal giant Murray Energy Corp., is suing the head of the Environmental Protection Agency over new rules limiting emissions from power plants. But his lawyers have asked a federal judge to postpone his trial date so he can attend the Republican National Convention this July.

In a motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia last Friday, Murray's counsel asked that the trial date be moved so that he can attend the convention. The RNC will take place in Cleveland from July 18 to 21, and the trial was initially slated to begin July 19.

Murray, says the motion, is a "very active member of the Republican Party, both nationally and in Ohio, where Murray Energy Corporation is based," as well as a member of the host committee for the convention. His commitments require him to be in Cleveland for the scheduled date of the trial. Greenwire and Law 360 covered the motion on Tuesday.

Murray serves as the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the corporation, and will be a principal witness for the trial. His suit alleges that the EPA did not properly consider how much its new rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants would affect coal companies.

Murray has accused the Obama administration of trying to destroy the coal industry. "In the coal industries I think he’s doing more damage to this country than a terrorist could do -- a terrorist," he told The Washington Times in November. His company has filed legal challenges to both the EPA's greenhouse gas emission rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, and its standards for ozone pollution.

Murray is a major Republican donor and fundraiser. Mitt Romney held a rally at one of his mines in 2012, an event the Federal Election Commission investigated following allegations Murray coerced his employees into attending the event. (The probe was ultimately dropped after the commission's three Republican members decided not to pursue it.)

An EPA spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that they did not oppose moving the trial date.

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