The Junkman has a new job, and yet again it involves defending fossil fuels and attacking science. Steve Milloy, who long ago dubbed himself “The Junkman,” is listed as Director of External Policy & Strategy, Murray Energy Corporation, in a description of a global warming panel happening Thursday afternoon at the CPAC convention in Washington.
That means he’s now deploying his anti-science, climate denialist PR spin for the largest privately-held coal producer in the U.S., Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp.
Milloy apparently hasn’t bothered to update his online biography with this new title, and he didn’t respond to questions from DeSmogBlog about his exact start date. But it appears that he took the job with the coal company led by controversial conservative coal baron Robert Murray at some point last year. *Update: A Murray Energy spokesperson confirmed with DeSmog that Milloy began employment at the company on October 15, 2013.*
Milloy appears on the roster of attendees at a White House meeting last Halloween, according to an Office of Management and Budget meeting log from Oct. 31, 2013. Milloy, appearing on behalf of Murray Energy Corp, was part of the coal industry coalition pushing back against efforts to improve mine safety rules protecting workers from respirable coal dust that can cause black lung disease, according to documents supplied at the meeting.
Last September, Milloy wrote about Murray Energy briefly on his JunkScience.com blog without mentioning any ties to the company. Perhaps he hadn’t joined Murray yet, or didn’t see reason to declare his position? (*See update above*)
The CPAC global warming panel taking place today in Washington features a cast of climate confusionists apparently seeking to permanently sink the GOP’s reputation on scientific matters.
With one exception — CEO of Abundant Power Group, Shannon Smith, a conservative who acknowledged in a recent tweet that “climate change is a reality” — the rest of the panel is stacked with a denier dream team of veteran apologists for tobacco companies, the Koch brothers, the chemical industry and dirty energy interests.
Last year, climate denial was all the rage among most of CPAC’s young conservative attendees. So the right-wing audience will probably continue to buy the snake oil that all but Smith will be selling.
AFTER TOBACCO AND TOXIC CHEMICALS, “CLEAN COAL” A NATURAL FIT FOR MILLOY?
Steve Milloy’s new employer, Murray Energy, is a company with a clear position on climate change – 100% denial of science and reality.
Here is what Murray Energy spokesperson, Gary Broadbent, told the National Journal last summer:
“There is no relationship between the utilization of coal and climate change,” company spokesman wrote to me in an e-mail. “Our members of Congress, and particularly the Obama administration, confuse scientific facts and evidence with their own beliefs.”
Robert Murray, the company’s founder and president, is clearly a climate denier who once referred to global warming as “global goofiness.” Bob Murray is also known for repeatedly lashing out with defamation lawsuits against journalists.
His company Murray Energy is also a funder of the Heartland Institute, the Chicago-based right wing group known for its attacks on climate science and its outrageous Unabomber billboard. According to Heartland’s 2012 fundraising plan — an internal document published originally on DeSmogBlog in February 2012 —Murray Energy gave $100,000 to Heartland in 2010 and was expected to give $40,000 in 2012.
WHO IS STEVE MILLOY? A BRIEF HISTORY
Milloy, an infamous tobacco- and chemical industry-funded PR flack, was an author of the 1998 American Petroleum Institute “communications plan” to attack science and undermine international action on climate change. Written in conjunction with many right wing think tanks and fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Southern Company, the industry’s goal was to launch “a national media relations program to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science.”
The 1998 API memo noted the “current reality” the industry faced:
“Unless ‘climate change’ becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts.”
Three of the groups represented on the 2014 CPAC global warming panel were listed on the 1998 plan as possible channels to deploy the industry money to attack climate science, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Competitive Enterprise Institute and Frontiers of Freedom:
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, AND POLLUTING
Milloy has been a loud-mouthed attacker of climate science ever since, and proud of it. He told Popular Science in 2012:
“There’s really only about 25 of us doing this. A core group of skeptics. It’s a ragtag bunch, very Continental Army. … I’m happy to be a denier.”
Like many other polluter operatives, Milloy has affiliations with a number of fossil-friendly think tanks in addition to his role at Murray Energy.
He’s listed as an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, senior policy fellow at the Energy and Environmental Law Institute, ‘expert’ at the Heartland Institute, the publisher and editor emeritus of JunkScience.com and president of the consulting firm Steven J. Milloy, Inc. He previously served as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, director of Science Policy Studies at the National Environmental Policy Institute and more. He also formerly served as a blogger and occasional on-air commentator at FoxNews.com.
If you produce a deadly and dangerous product that needs defending, then Steve Milloy is your man. His business card might as well read “science denier for hire.”
Apparently, Murray Energy is the latest polluter to make the call to book the Junkman’s disinformation services.