Murray Energy

Murray Energy

Background

Murray Energy Corporation was the largest privately-owned coal mining company in America, producing roughly seventy-six million tons of coal per year and holding three billion tons of coal reserves. Murray Energy was founded by the late Robert E. Murray in 1988. Murray Energy went bankrupt in 2019.  [1], [43]

The company emerged from federal bankruptcy protection in September 2020 with a new ownership group and under the new name American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc. Robert D. Moore, who replaced Robert Murray as president and CEO of Murray Energy in October 2019, also headed the new company.[48], [49]

Bob Murray passed away on October 25, 2020 at 80 years of ageNew York Times obituary described Murray as a “brash crusader for the mining industry” given his fight against “government regulations that protected miners’ safety and health and addressed climate change.” On October 19, Murray announced he was retiring as chairman of the board of directors of American Consolidated Natural Resource Holdings Inc.  [45], [46], [47]

Murray Energy operated 12 mines and owns stake in Foresight Energy, which operated four more mines in Illinois, for a total of 16 mines. In April 2018, Murray announced that the company planned to expand into the coal-fired electrical generation business. “It’s a new concept. If you control the fuel supply, you can price it how you want it,” Murray said. [2], [3] 

Robert Murray, the company’s chairman, president, and CEO, has consistently denied the existence of climate change. In 2017, Murray declared “I have 4,000 scientists that tell me global warming is a hoax” and said that “The Earth has cooled for 20 years.” (The 4,000 “scientists” are likely those of the debunked Oregon Petition.) Murray has testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he claimed climate change is based on “faulty science.” [4], [5]

Murray Energy has repeatedly sued the Obama Administration in attempts to repeal the Clean Power Plan and other industry regulations. Robert Murray has also publicly blamed Barack Obama for the closure of coal-fired power plants in the U.S. [6]

Environmental Record

Murray Energy has paid millions in fines for contaminating waterways in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania with coal slurry. Murray Energy pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Columbus to two counts of water pollution violations for coal slurry spills by subsidiary companies into Captina Creek in 2008 and 2010, The Columbus Dispatch reported. [7]

A permanent solution is needed to ensure the exhaustion of all of the mineable coal reserves,” Rob Murray wrote in an email.

Murray Energy earlier paid a $50,000 fine for a 2005 slurry spill, which polluted 2,300 feet of the stream. A Murray Energy subsidiary also owned the pipeline responsible for a 2000 spill that resulted in the death of more than 3,500 fish and 850 animals, according to a spokesman for Natural Resources. The Columbus Dispatch noted this was the sixth large spill blamed on the company in the past decade, as of 2010. [40], [41][7]

This is like the drunk driver that keeps hitting kids in the crosswalk, yet the state keeps giving him his license back,” said Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council, an advocacy group.

In 2015, Murray Energy was cited for a spill at a subsidiary’s coal preparation plan in Benwood, West Virginia. According to the Associated Press, “Media outlets report that sediment and liquid spilled into the Ohio River on Saturday from Ohio County Coal Co.’s plant. The Department of Environmental Protection cited Murray for failing to maintain discharge controls.” [8]

Safety Record

In 2015, federal regulators accused Murray Energy of attempting to silence whistleblowers. International Business Times reported: “Murray Energy chided 3,500 workers for making too many confidential safety complaints to regulators and – at one of the mines – threatened to retaliate by closing down operations.” The Secretary of Labor complaint alleged that Murray Energy had interfered with miners’ rights under the Mine Safety and Health Act to lodge safety reports. [9]

Stance on Climate Change

2017

“We do not have a climate change or global warming problem, we have an energy cost problem,” Robert Murray said in an interview with The Guardian. [10]

Finances

Murray Energy only appears to distribute financial reports and information to “to certain qualified investors,” according to their website. Hoovers estimates the company’s revenue at $4.5 billion. [11], [12]

Key People

Other People

Actions

December 17, 2019

Murray Energy bankruptcy filings revealed that the energy company, even while undergoing bankruptcy, had continued to fund a wide range of climate change denial groups. That included the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), a group that has closely guarded its funding sources, which received $60,000. Other groups named included the Heartland Institute ($130,000), the Competitive Enterprise Institute ($200,000), and Government Accountability & Oversight ($300,000). He also donated $60,000 to the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, making him one of the group’s largest donors. See related reporting from The InterceptEnergy and Environment News, and The New York Times. Other groups funded by Murray Energy include FreedomWorks, the Cato Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and Judicial Watch.[42], [43], [44]

May 31, 2018

Based on a draft Department of Energy (DOE) memo obtained by Bloomberg, the Trump administration was making plans to bail out coal and nuclear plants. This followed more than a year of lobbying by Robert Murray for President Donald Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry to bail out struggling coal plants. Bloomberg was the first to report: [16], [17]

Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.

The Energy Department would exercise emergency authority under a pair of federal laws to direct the operators to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The agency also is making plans to establish a ‘Strategic Electric Generation Reserve’ with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies.”

In August of 2017, Robert Murray had sent a letter to the White House requesting for assistance from the Trump administration. In particular, he was lobbying on behalf of FirstEnergy, one of Murray Energy’s largest customers and which ultimately filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. [18], [19]

We are desperate for the President to, once again, order Energy Secretary Perry to invoke Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act for FirstEnergy’s merchant power plants,” Murray wrote in the letter to the White House.

In September, Perry had called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to speed up a proposed “grid resiliency” rule that would prop up coal and nuclear plants with the stated goal of preserving grid reliability. This, despite Perry’s own agency finding that the closure of those coal plants would have little impact on the grid. [20], [21]

Murray claimed FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy could have been prevented if FERC had turned down the rule. [22]

Despite Murray’s claim he “didn’t have any involvement” in the rule DOE proposed to FERCIn These Times revealed a March 2017 meeting between Perry and Murray, in which Murray presented his “action plan” for federal agencies to aid the coal industry and in which he hugged Perry. [23], [24]

June 1, 2017

Murray Energy released a statement applauding President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. [25]

We applaud President Trump’s steadfast leadership, and his delivery on this important campaign commitment. Indeed, complete withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is an integral part of President Trump’s Energy Agenda, together with rescinding the so-called Clean Power Plan, repealing the Stream Protection Rule, and other important actions,” Robert E. Murray said in the statement.

Murray Energy has always supported complete withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and has been joined by more than forty (40) other major organizations. In following through on his promise, President Trump is supporting America’s uncompromising values, saving coal jobs, and promoting low-cost, reliable electricity for Americans and the rest of the World.” 

May 2017

Murray Energy Corporation sued the New York Times for “false and defamatory statements” in an April 24, 2017 article titled “Money Talked Loudest at Trump’s Inaugural.” The Murray Energy Press release alleged that the article “falsely implies that the Murray Energy organization was found guilty of a significant number of violations outside the norms of industry regulatory compliance.” [26], [27]

March 1, 2017

Robert Murray presented President Donald Trump with an “action plan” of environmental rollbacks. The New York Times reported that, almost a year later, the administration was on track to fulfill most of the 16 requests. [28]

View the full document at The New York Times and below. The memo was obtained by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and shared with The New York Times. It includes requests to end regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, ozone, and mine safety, as well as cutting staff at the EPA “at least in half.” [29]

Murray Energy S Action Plan for the Trump (Text)
February 16, 2017

In a press release, Murray Energy praised President Donald Trump for repealing the Stream Protection Rule. [30]

“This unlawful and destructive Rule, as promulgated by the Obama Administration, was nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to destroy our Nation’s underground coal mines and put our Nation’s coal miners out of work,” Murray said. [30]

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, described the repeal of the rule as a “a disgraceful opening salvo from this Congress, as they begin to try and do the bidding of big polluters.” Science reported that the rule’s repeal in itself would do little to revitalize the coal industry. [31]

September 27, 2016

Murray Energy released oral arguments against the Clean Power Plan. The Murray press release claimed the plan “will completely destroy the United States coal industry, and unconstitutionally usurp the rights of the States, for no environmental benefit whatsoever.” [6]

To date, President Obama and his supporters have closed 411 coal-fired power generating units, totaling 101,000 megawatts, all for absolutely no environmental benefit. Their CPP will eliminate 49,000 additional megawatts of coal-fired generation at an increased wholesale electricity cost of $214 billion between 2022 and 2030 and increase electricity rates up to thirty-one percent (31%) in one-half of our states,” Robert Murray said. [6]

June 18, 2014

Murray Energy Corporation sued the EPA “challenging the EPA’s promulgation of illegal, irrational, and destructive cap-and-tax regulations for existing coal-fired power plants.” The press release accused the Obama Administration of an “all out War on Coal,” and blamed the closure of 421 coal-fired power plants on the Obama administration. [32]

April 23, 2014

Murray Energy announced it would sue the Obama Administration for a rule titled “Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors.” The press release claimed, “Instead of protecting miners’ health, this Rule clearly seeks to destroy the coal industry, and the thousands of jobs that it provides, with absolutely no benefit to the health or safety of miners, whatsoever.” [33]

2012

In 2012, Murray Energy employees accused Bob Murray of coercing them into donating to Republicans. That year, Murray Energy employees also said they were forced to attend, without pay, a campaign rally held by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. One miner alleged, “Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen.” [34]

That same year, Murray Energy fired 163 employees, citing the need to go into “survival mode” because of President Obama’s reelection win. According to a November 14 Politico article, “The Ohio-based company announced last week it would lay off 163 employees, citing the results of the general election and a regulatory onslaught to come. Coal executive Robert E. Murray told employees that because Obama had won a second term, ‘we cannot bleed cash waiting for our competitors to be eliminated,’ according to a memo to employees.” [35]

Ohio business records list records for three Murray Energy entities: [39]

Contact & Address

46226 National Road
St. Clairsville, Ohio 43950
Phone: 740.338.3100
Fax: 740.338.3405
www.murrayenergycorp.com

Social Media

Resources

  1. Murray Energy Corporation is the Largest Underground Coal Mining Company in America,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/brtpa
  2. Murray Energy Corporation: Corporate Overview,Murray Energy Corporation, Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/6NQ1j
  3. U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/FxetF
  4. Tom DiChristopher. “Murray Energy CEO claims global warming is a hoax, says 4,000 scientists tell him so,” CNBC, February 17, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/IVvfC
  5. Robert E. Murray. “The Human Consequences of Climate Change Alarmism, and the Actions and Statements of the Majority Party and Some Republicans in the United States House of Representatives and Senate” (PDF), June 28, 2008.Retrieved from EPW.senate.gov.
  6. “Murray Energy Corporation Comments on Oral Arguments Today Regarding the Obama Administration’s Illegal and Destructive So-Called Clean Power Plan” (PDF), September 27, 2016.
  7. Spencer Hunt. “EPA, coal company argue over waste plan,” The Columbus Dispatch, July 16, 2012. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/AWLUO
  8. Murray Energy cited for spill at prep plant in Benwood,” Charleston Gazette-Mail. June 14, 2015.
  9. Fed Regulators Accuse Murray Energy Of Trying To Silence Whistleblowers, Creating ‘Atmosphere Of Intimidation’ At 5 West Virginia Coal Mines,” International Business Times, November 4, 2015. Archived April 23, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/c5prE
  10. Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/OpI6G
  11. Investors,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived July 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/oaYRL
  12. Murray Energy Corporation,” Hoovers. Archived July 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/zlwU2
  13. Robert E. Murray,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/AXJV8
  14. Company Overview of Murray Energy Corporation,” Bloomberg. Accessed July 9, 2020.
  15. Murray Energy Corporation Appoints Mr. Todd Adkins Vice President – Marketing and Sales” (PDF), November 21, 2017.
  16. Ashley Braun. “Rick Perry Resorts to Subsidizing Coal With Measures Used in Wartime and Natural Disasters,” DeSmog, June 1, 2018.
  17. Jennifer A Dlouhy. “Trump Prepares Lifeline for Money-Losing Coal Plants,” Bloomberg, May 31, 2018. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/s0otF
  18. Dear Mr. McEntee,” Murray Energy Corporation, August 4, 2017. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.
  19. FirstEnergy Solutions files for bankruptcy after pushing for DOE emergency order,” Utility Dive, April 2, 2018. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/y49gK
  20. Justin Mikulka. “Proposed Bailout of Coal and Nuclear Is Trump Admin’s Attempt to Save Dying Industries,” DeSmog, November 10, 2017.
  21. David Roberts. “A moment of truth arrives for Rick Perry’s widely hated coal bailout,” Vox, December 11, 2017. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/Ct5T5
  22. Murray Energy responds to FirstEnergy Solutions bankruptcy,” WTRF, April 3, 2018. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/JtZUA
  23. Kate Aronoff. “Exclusive Photos Contradict Murray Energy CEO’s Claim He Had ‘Nothing To Do with Rick Perry’s Coal Bailout,” In These Times, December 6, 2017. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/DKU3r
  24. Rick Perry hugged a coal baron. This photographer got the picture. Then he was placed on leave,” The Washington Post, January 17, 2018. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/xQtwe
  25. Murray Energy Corporation Applauds President Trump’s Announcement that the United States will Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord,” Murray Energy Corporation, June 1, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  26. “Murray Energy Corporation Sues The New York Times For False and Defamatory Article” (PDF)Murray Energy Corporation, May 3, 2017.
  27. Money Talked Loudest at Donald Trump’s Inaugural,” The New York Times, April 24, 2017. Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/m4EfF
  28. How a Coal Baron’s Wish List Became President Trump’s To-Do List,” The New York Times, January 9, 2018. Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/rkAHJ
  29. Murray Energy’s ‘Action Plan’ for the Trump Administration,” The New York TImes, January 9, 2018.
  30. Murray Energy Applauds President Trump’s Repeal of the Obama Administration’s So-Called Stream Protection Rule” (PDF), Murray Energy Corporation, February 16, 2017.
  31. Warren Cornwall. “Demise of stream rule won’t revitalize coal industry,” Science, February 16, 2017. Archived April 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/SWbf5
  32. “Murray Energy Corporation Sues Obama EPA For Illegal, Unworkable, and Disastrous Cap-and-Tax Regulations on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants” (PDF), June 18, 2014.
  33. Murray Energy Corporation to Sue Obama Administration for Disastrous and Politically Motivated Rule Regarding Respirable Mine Dust, Which Fails to Protect Coal Miners and Destroys Jobs,” Murray Energy Corporation, April 23, 2014.
  34. Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived April 23, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/HP0or
  35. Erica Martinson. “Murray Energy donated before layoffs,” Politico, November 14, 2012. Archived April 23, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/vyAzM
  36. Murray Energy Corporation’s Murray Kentucky Energy, Inc. Acquires Full
    Ownership Interest in Western Kentucky Coal Resources, LLC
    ,” Murray Energy Corporation, February 23, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  37. “Murray American Energy, Inc. Announces that the BCOA and the UMWA Have Reached a Tentative Labor Agreement; Contract Runs Through 2021” (PDF), Murray American Energy, Inc. June 24, 2016.
  38. Murray Energy Corporation Completes Purchase of Consolidation Coal Company From CONSOL Energy, Inc.Murray Energy Corporation, December 5, 2013.
  39. Business Search by Name,” Ohio Secretary of State. Search performed April 22, 2018.
  40. Coal slurry spill threatens Belmont County creek,” The Columbus Dispatch, October 1, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  41. Slurry spill has left trail of death in Ohio creek,” The Columbus Dispatch, October 7, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog
  42. Lee Fang. “COAL GIANT PROVIDED SECRET FINANCING TO GROUP CHALLENGING CLIMATE LAWSUITS,”The Intercept, December 17, 2019. Archive.ph URLhttps://archive.ph/hUjRt
  43. Scott Waldman. “Murray Energy a major funder of climate denial groups,” E&E News, December 17, 2019. Archived December 20, 2019. Archive.ph URLhttps://archive.ph/wip/WrDuT
  44. Lisa Friedman. “A Coal Baron Funded Climate Denial as His Company Spiraled Into Bankruptcy,” The New York Times, December 17, 2019. Archived December 20, 2019. Archive.ph URLhttps://archive.ph/ujTS6
  45. Jamie Ross. “Bob Murray, Coal Magnate and John Oliver Nemesis, Dies at 80,” The Daily Beast, October 26, 2020. Archived October 26, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/cQo0J
  46. Robert Murray, longtime coal executive and founder of Murray Energy, dies at age 80,” The Intelligencer, October 25, 2020. Archive URLhttps://archive.vn/AX54j
  47. John Schwartz. “Robert Murray, Coal Baron With Clout, Dies at 80,” The New York Times, October 27, 2020. Archived October 28, 2020. Archive URLhttps://archive.vn/bYyJc
  48. AP. “Former coal CEO Robert Murray files for black lung benefits,” ABC News, October 1, 2020. Archived October 29, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/DBywO
  49. Coal giant Murray Energy out of bankruptcy under new name,” Daily Herald, September 17, 2020. Archived October 29. 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/KiJsX

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