Robert Murray

Robert E. Murray (Deceased)

Credentials

Background

Robert E. Murray was chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Murray Energy Corporation, the largest privately-owned coal company in the United States. Murray Energy was forced to file for bankruptcy in October 2019. Bob Murray passed away on October 25, 2020 at 80 years of age. A New 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.”4Robert E. Murray,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived August 27, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/c0d4p 5About,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/EJJ1N 6Scott Waldman. “Murray Energy a major funder of climate denial groups,” E&E News, December 17, 2019. Archived December 20, 2019. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/wip/WrDuT 7Coal giant Murray Energy out of bankruptcy under new name,” Daily Herald, September 17, 2020. Archived October 29. 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/KiJsX 8Jamie 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 9John Schwartz. “Robert Murray, Coal Baron With Clout, Dies at 80,” The New York Times, October 27, 2020. Archived October 28, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/bYyJc 10Robert Murray, longtime coal executive and founder of Murray Energy, dies at age 80,” The Intelligencer, October 25, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/AX54j

Murray Energy emerged from federal bankruptcy protection in September 2020 with a new name, American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc., and a new ownership group. Robert D. Moore, who replaced Robert Murray as president and CEO of Murray Energy in October 2019, also headed the new company. Murray announced on October 19, 2020 that he was retiring as chairman of the board of directors of American Consolidated Natural Resource Holdings Inc.11Coal giant Murray Energy out of bankruptcy under new name,” Daily Herald, September 17, 2020. Archived October 29. 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/KiJsX 12Robert Moore Appointed CEO of Murray Energy, to Guide Company Through Bankruptcy,” Mining Connection, October 31, 2019. Archived October 29, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/yatgq

According to an archived biography at Murray Energy, before founding his own company, Murray worked for 31 years at The North American Coal Corporation (NACC), holding “various supervisory, management, engineering, marketing and operating positions,” After he was fired from NACC without a public explanation in 1987, Murray went on to create his own mining company.13Management Bio,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived September 25, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MlEzB 14Lauren Donovan. “Utah mine owner operated in North Dakota mines,” Bismark Tribune, August 8, 2007. Archived August 27, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/FkkDR

Murray held board positions at the National Mining Association, American Coal Foundation, National Coal Council, Ohio Coal Association, and Pennsylvania Coal Association. He was also a former president and trustee of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc., the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc, and The Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute, as well as “other industry and civic organizations.”15Management Bio,” Murray Energy Corporation. Archived September 25, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MlEzB

Robert Murray denied climate change science. In 2017, he said “I have 4,000 scientists that tell me global warming is a hoax” and that “The Earth has cooled for 20 years.” Murray once referred to efforts by governments and citizens to counter global warming as “hysterical global goofiness.”16Tom 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 URL: https://archive.is/IVvfC 17Robert 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.

Murray Energy received criticism from environmental groups and government agencies for releasing dangerous pollution. Notably, Murray Energy was accused of spilling coal slurry, described by the Ohio EPA as “a thick, viscous, black material that can potentially smother aquatic life and contains numerous organic and metal contaminants,” into the same Belmont Country stream at least seven times.18Spencer Hunt. “EPA, coal company argue over waste plan,” The Columbus Dispatch, July 16, 2012. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AWLUO

Robert Murray campaigned for the election of Donald Trump. He described Trump as the only hope for his industry and blamed the “ongoing destruction” of the coal industry on “President Barack Obama, and his supporters, and the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity.” Murray called Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement “courageous.”19Katie Herzog. “Coal baron is trying to elect Trump with old tricks,” Grist, July 5, 2016. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/GFS9Q 20Alexander C. Kaufman. “Coal Baron Promises Huge Layoffs, Then Tells Workers To Vote Trump,” HuffPost, July 3, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9LrSb 21Trump’s withdrawal from climate accord was ‘courageous’: Murray Energy CEO,”BNN, June 7, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zgAx7

Litigation

Robert Murray had a history of filing defamation lawsuits against journalists and activists.22Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

The Columbia Journalism Review noted, “Murray has every right to defend his reputation and to use defamation law to redress real harms—and to the extent he’s trying do to that, good for him. But the company is a major player in local economies, Murray himself is active in politics, and his record of suing journalists or threatening to sue them—whatever his motivations—does stand to chill reporting on business and industry practices that are of public concern.”23Jonathan Peters. “A coal magnate’s latest lawsuit was tossed—but Ohio can do more to defend free expression,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 28, 2014. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JHvpf

As of that 2014 article, Murray had sued journalists at Chagrin Valley Times, and threatened to sue Steve Fiscor, editor of Coal Age and Engineering & Mining Journal, and R. Larry Grayson, a professor emeritus of energy and mineral engineering at Penn State University. He also sued blogger Wilfred Michael Stark for an article at The Huffington Post, a reporter for The Charleston Gazette, a former reporter of the Akron Beacon Journal, and others.24Jonathan Peters. “A coal magnate’s latest lawsuit was tossed—but Ohio can do more to defend free expression,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 28, 2014. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JHvpf

In 2001, Murray filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against the corporation that owns Akron Beacon Journal, claiming the paper had defamed him in an article titled “Mine Owner Isn’t the Shy, Quiet Type.”25Jim Phillips. “Coal operator sues Beacon Journal over portrayal of him in article,” The Athens News, January 29, 2011.

In 2017, Murray also sued John Oliver for a segment on his show Last Week Tonight covering Donald Trump, Murray, and the coal industry. Murray later dropped the suit.26Coal industry titan files defamation lawsuit against John Oliver,” The Denver Post, June 22, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/TUGQ7 27Dylan Brown. “John Oliver claims victory as Murray drops lawsuit,” E&E News, November 11, 2019. Archived June 5, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/xJQAF

Political Contributions

In 2016, Murray Energy gave over $1.5 million to political candidates, party committees, and outside groups, including $200,000 to the pro-Trump PAC Rebuilding America Now and $250,000 to the Cleveland Host Committee which helped fund the Republican National Convention. Trump’s campaign also received $103,000 from Murray Energy employees, OpenSecrets reported. Other significant recipients of Murray money included New Day for America, backing Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich; The Independent Voice for Illinois super PAC, backing Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Citizen Super PAC which backed candidates such as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).28Ashley Balcerzak. “Murray Energy bucks coal mining trend with record giving in 2016,” OpenSecrets.org, February 28, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/N19sc

In 2012, Murray helped organize a $1.7 million fundraiser for Mitt Romney, whom Murray employees had already given more than $120,000 in the 2012 election cycle. Media reports raised questions whether the company had pressured salaried employees to give to Murray’s political action committee (PAC).29John McCormick. “Romney Supportive of Coal Industry He Said ‘Kills People‘,” Bloomberg, August 23, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/DUWru 30Alec MacGillis. “Coal Miner’s Donor,” New Republic, October 3, 2012.

Murray said he had decided to be more involved in the election because Obama and his appointees threaten the “destruction of an entire segment of American society.”31John McCormick. “Romney Supportive of Coal Industry He Said ‘Kills People‘,” Bloomberg, August 23, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/DUWru

According to New Republic, two anonymous sources who worked in managerial positions with Murray Energy suggested that there may have been coercion involved in Murray staffers’ financial support for Romney. “There’s a lot of coercion,” said one of them. “I just wanted to work, but you feel this constant pressure that, if you don’t contribute, your job’s at stake. You’re compelled to do this whether you want to or not.” The second said, “They will give you a call if you’re not giving. […] It’s expected you give Mr. Murray what he asks for.”32Alec MacGillis. “Coal Miner’s Donor,” New Republic, October 3, 2012.

Internal documents obtained by New Republic include a March 2012 letter where Murray criticizes employees who had not yet attended fundraisers. “What is so difficult about asking a well-paid, salaried employee to give us three hours of his/her time every two months? We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” A 2011 letter from Murray, concerning a fundraiser for two Republican senators, read “Please see that our salaried employees ‘step up,’ for their own sakes and those of their employees.”33Alec MacGillis. “Coal Miner’s Donor,” New Republic, October 3, 2012.

In February 2010, Murray Energy donated nearly $25,000 to GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s campaign against Barbara Boxer, the incumbent Democrat.34Lance Williams. “Global warming doubter, coal industry donate to Fiorina campaign,” California Watch, July 25, 2010. Archived December 16, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HKDrF

In May 2010, Murray Energy donated $30,000 to Proposition 23, which would have suspended California’s Global Warming Solutions Act until the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters.35Lance Williams. “Ohio coal company that backed Fiorina also gave to Prop. 23,” California Watch, July 27, 2010. Archived July 30, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zDHHs

Below is a summary of the top 50 contributions among federal candidates in the most recent three election cycles by Murray Energy, using data from OpenSecrets.org. As OpenSecrets notes, organizations themselves do not donate to political candidates. Rather, these totals arise from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families and may include organization subsidiaries or affiliates.36Murray Energy,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed June 2020.

View the attached spreadsheets for more details, including Murray Energy’s political donations going back as far as 1992 via OpenSecrets Data (.xlsx).37Murray Energy,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed June 2020.

Candidates

View & Recipient201620182020Grand Total
Republican$263,704$261,440$91,780$616,924
Donald Trump$103,402 $53,470$156,872
Ted Cruz$75,869$9,200 $85,069
Kevin McCarthy $21,400$10$21,410
Jim Renacci $16,700 $16,700
Martha McSally $13,850$2,000$15,850
Carol Miller $5,550$10,000$15,550
Bill Johnson $13,390$2,000$15,390
Todd Young$14,375 $14,375
Dean Heller $14,100 $14,100
Luther Strange $14,075 $14,075
Keith J Rothfus$2,700$10,500 $13,200
Virginia Foxx $11,250$1,500$12,750
John Hoeven$12,548 $12,548
Mike Braun $11,850 $11,850
Andy Barr $9,250$2,500$11,750
Rob Portman$10,734 $10,734
Bob Gibbs $10,000 $10,000
Josh Mandel $9,375 $9,375
Marsha Blackburn $8,850 $8,850
Marco Rubio$8,400 $8,400
Steve Stivers $8,200 $8,200
Justin Fareed$7,700 $7,700
Greg Pence $7,300 $7,300
Kevin Cramer $6,900 $6,900
Ron Johnson$6,875 $6,875
Mark Kirk$6,325 $6,325
Matt Rosendale $6,250 $6,250
Lou Barletta $5,700 $5,700
Rick Scott $5,700 $5,700
Steve Chabot $5,550 $5,550
Mike Bost $5,550 $5,550
Joe Heck$5,525 $5,525
Rupie Jr Phillips $5,250 $5,250
Rand Paul$5,201 $5,201
Troy Balderson $5,000 $5,000
David P Joyce $5,000 $5,000
Cory Gardner $5,000$5,000
Pat Toomey$5,000 $5,000
Josh Hawley $4,100 $4,100
Greg Walden $2,000$2,000$4,000
Liz Cheney $3,000$3,000
John Kasich$2,700 $2,700
Rick Saccone $2,700 $2,700
Kelly Armstrong $2,500$2,500
John Curtis $2,500$2,500
Thom Tillis $2,500$2,500
Rob Bishop $2,500 $2,500
Steven Daines $2,500$2,500
Patrick Morrisey $2,400 $2,400
David McKinley $2,000 $2,000
John Shimkus$1,000 $1,000
Steve Scalise $300$300
Evan Jenkins$250 $250
Carly Fiorina$100 $100
Alex Mooney-$5,000 -$5,000
Democrat$108$126$31$265
Bernie Sanders$108 $108
Richard Ojeda $100 $100
Joe Biden $30$30
Bill Nelson $16 $16
Elizabeth Warren $10 $10
Tom Steyer $1$1
Grand Total$263,812$261,566$91,811$617,189

Leadership PAC

View & Recipient2012201420162018Grand Total
Democrat $35 $35
Democrats Win Seats PAC $35 $35
Republican$135$6,000$15,000$41,800$62,935
RickPAC $10,000 $10,000
Thunderbolt PAC $5,000$5,000
WinNovember PAC $5,000$5,000
Building America’s Republican Representation $5,000$5,000
Support to Ensure Victory Everywhere PAC $5,000$5,000
Building Opportunities for a Stronger Tomorrow $5,000$5,000
Victory & Freedom PAC $5,000$5,000
Majority Cmte PAC $5,000$5,000
Belief In Life & Liberty $5,000 $5,000
Re-Light America PAC $5,000$5,000
Wild & Wonderful PAC $4,000 $4,000
Reinventing a New Direction $2,000 $2,000
Big Sky Opportunity PAC $1,500$1,500
Jobs Freedom & Security PAC $300$300
Dakota PAC$135 $135
Grand Total$135$6,000$15,035$41,800$62,970

527

Recipient20162018Grand Total
New Day For America$300,000 $300,000
Our American Revival$50,000 $50,000
Young Conservatives for a Better America$2,275$4,950$7,225
Republican Liberty Caucus$1,810$2,355$4,165
Young Republican National Federation $2,425$2,425
Frontiers of Freedom $1,685$1,685
College Republican National Cmte$325$1,000$1,325
Presidential Coalition LLC $200$200
Grand Total$354,410$12,615$367,025

Outside

Recipient20122014201620182020Grand Total
America First Action $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership $330,000 $330,000
Rebuilding America Now $200,000 $200,000
Senate Leadership Fund $47,000$95,000 $142,000
Congressional Leadership Fund $140,000 $140,000
Independent Voice For Illinois $129,000 $129,000
Prosperity for Pennsylvania $110,000 $110,000
New Generation PAC $100,000 $100,000
Republican Super PAC $100,000 $100,000
American Crossroads$100,000 $100,000
Kentucky Tomorrow $10,000$75,000$85,000
Trusted Leadership PAC $80,000 $80,000
Citizen SuperPAC $70,000 $70,000
Hardworking Americans Cmte $70,000 $70,000
Missouri Rising Action $60,000 $60,000
New Day For America $50,000 $50,000
Tennesseans for A Better Tomorrow $50,000 $50,000
Transparency In Government PAC $50,000 $50,000
Liberty 2.0 $50,000 $50,000
Keystone Strong $50,000 $50,000
Florida First Project $38,000 $38,000
Grow NC Strong $30,000 $30,000
Let America Work $24,000 $24,000
CFG Action Montana $20,000 $20,000
Texans Are PAC $20,000 $20,000
1863 PAC $18,314$18,314
Advancing Freedom Fund $1,100$600 $1,700
Grand Total$100,000$470,000$1,029,100$1,425,600$93,314$3,118,014

Party

Recipient20122014201620182020Grand Total
Democrat $50$600$600$1,250
Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte $600$600$1,200
DNC Services Corp $50 $50
Republican$169,944$105,339$274,745$50,853$304,520$905,401
Republican National Cmte$38,300$15,886$7,245$750$299,255$361,436
Cleveland 2016 Host Cmte $250,000 $250,000
National Republican Senatorial Cmte$94,644$69,353 $12,202$230$176,429
National Republican Congressional Cmte$37,000$14,600 $15,151$35$66,786
Republican Party of Ohio $500$15,000$5,250 $20,750
Republican Party of North Dakota $7,500 $7,500
Republican Party of West Virginia $2,500$5,000 $7,500
Republican Party of South Carolina $5,000 $5,000
Republican Party of Kentucky $5,000$5,000
Republican Party of Arizona $5,000 $5,000
Grand Total$169,944$105,339$274,795$51,453$305,120$906,651

Stance on Climate Change

2017

Speaking with The Guardian, Murray declared:38Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

“We do not have a climate change or global warming problem, we have an energy cost problem.”39Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

January 1, 2012

In a 2012 interview with The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, Murray discussed his fears of federal government regulation of the coal industry. When asked about climate change science, Murray said:40Sunday Sit-Down: Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray,” The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. Archived January 7, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yZYuI

“The fraudulent individuals around the world who have attempted to capitalize on the promotion of their theory that the Earth is warming are now finding out that it’s just not true. […] They did it for what I call crony capitalism – to make money off global warming. […] Albert Gore has made hundreds of millions of dollars over his hoax, and now they’re finding it’s simply not true.

[…] So it’s changed, and the vast majority of Americans today know now that this was a hoax and it was done to get money from America for other countries for people in America to make money off of it. […] Now some want to create a commodity market in carbon tax credits. So now you’ve got Wall Street and all these commodity brokers in the United States, they want to see the legislation because it creates a market to trade […] carbon credits. So all of these people, for reasons not very pure, not very honorable and certainly not honest, are perpetuating the fraud. People like me, they called me a skeptic. Now I’m right […] and I see America moving beyond that issue.”41Sunday Sit-Down: Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray,” The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. Archived January 7, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yZYuI

June 28, 2007

In 2007 testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Murray claimed that climate change as an “alleged phenomenon” based on “faulty science” and that “the science is uncertain.”42Robert 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.

“It is time that common sense be introduced into this hysterical, out of control, climate change debate, which alleged phenomenon, to our Nation’s best scientists, is based on faulty science. While the science is uncertain, the Congressional leadership’s proposals and statements to date will definitely result in devastating economic hardship to our families’ lives,” Murray wrote in his testimony.43Robert 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.

In his testimony, Murray also described emissions reductions as “hysterical global goofiness, with no environmental benefit.”44Robert 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.

“It seems to us that the leadership of this Congress, with the support of the Majority of this Committee and some Republicans, are intent in helping Mr. Gore and those of his ilk in achieving his unquestionable legacy, which will be the destruction of American lives and more death as a result of his hysterical global goofiness, with no environmental benefit,” Murray wrote in his testimony.45Robert 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.

Key Quotes

June 7, 2017

In an interview with BNN, Murray applauded President Donald Trump‘s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, while criticizing Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for supporting it:46Trump’s withdrawal from climate accord was ‘courageous’: Murray Energy CEO,”BNN, June 7, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zgAx7

“I’m not impressed with Mr. Trudeau at all, I don’t think he’s leading Canadians in the right direction, but again, I’m not a Canadian,” Murray said. He added that “President Donald Trump was absolutely prudent and courageous to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. It’s an integral part of his energy agenda. […] We do not have a global warming problem on this planet, what we have is an energy poverty problem on this planet.”47Trump’s withdrawal from climate accord was ‘courageous’: Murray Energy CEO,”BNN, June 7, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zgAx7

February 2017

The Guardian reported that Robert Murray met with President Donald Trump to discuss a plan to declassify carbon dioxide as a pollutant:48Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

“Carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act of 1971 was never a pollutant,” said Murray. “That endangerment finding needs to be overturned. It’s on my list of what needs to be done, because carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.”49Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

December 12, 2016

In a December interview with the Fox News programFox & Friends,” Murray declared “Rex Tillerson is one of the best choices [Trump] could ever make as Secretary of State.” Murray claims to have received a personal phone call from Trump, shortly after Trump was made President-elect:50Murray Energy CEO: Tillerson could advance US energy policy,” Fox News, December 12, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“He said, ‘tell your coal miners, I’ve got their back.’ Then he said ‘I love you, man,’” Murray told Fox & Friends.51Murray Energy CEO: Tillerson could advance US energy policy,” Fox News, December 12, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

October 2016

Speaking on CNBC, Murray called Tesla Motors a “fraud”:52Murray vs. Musk: Coal CEO Calls Tesla a ‘Fraud,’ Doesn’t Mention Subsidies for Failing Coal,” DeSmog, October 13, 2016.

“Tesla is a fraud. [It] has gotten $2 billion from the taxpayer and has not made a penny yet in cash flow. Here again, it’s subsidies.”53Murray vs. Musk: Coal CEO Calls Tesla a ‘Fraud,’ Doesn’t Mention Subsidies for Failing Coal,” DeSmog, October 13, 2016.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, responded on Twitter, writing that Tesla gets “pennies” on the dollar in subsidies compared with the coal industry, and that climate science denial is the “real fraud.”54Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for ‘subsidies’, Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?” Twitter post by user @elonmusk, October 10, 2016. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

January 1, 2012

In a 2012 interview with The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, Murray made a number of claims about President Barack Obama and the coal industry:55Sunday Sit-Down: Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray,” The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. Archived January 7, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yZYuI

“We need Republican control of the Senate and Mr. Obama sent into unemployment to correct the damage to our industry in America already caused by him and his Democrat followers. The Obama administration has declared war on coal and has been speeding along unrestrained with a series of U.S. EPA regulations.”56Sunday Sit-Down: Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray,” The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. Archived January 7, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yZYuI

“Congress must enact a number of current proposals that would stop the regulatory rampage of the Obama Administration, particularly of the EPA. In addition, we must put Mr. Obama and all of this appointees into unemployment as quickly as possible.”57Sunday Sit-Down: Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray,” The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register. Archived January 7, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yZYuI

June 28, 2007

In his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Murray declared:58Robert 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.

“Carbon dioxide is a combustion product vital to how civilization is powered. It cannot be legislated or regulated away. Without drastic technological breakthroughs, it is not possible to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, even if it were necessary, and meet global energy demands.”

Speaking about Rachel Carson, Murray said:59Robert 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.

“She and her environmental followers killed millions of human beings around the World with the ban on DDT, which has since been found by the World Health Organization to be very safe to humans in controlling global epidemics.”60Robert 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.

April 2007

In a 2007 speech at the New York Coal Trade Association in New York City, Murray voiced what he thought of Al Gore:61Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

“I will only waste a few words relative to Albert Gore, the shaman of global goofiness and doom and gloom. He has portrayed those of us in coal as bad guys in a cheap ‘good guys / bad guys’ scenario, which has always been his tactic. Mr. Gore has never been able to determine the difference between science and science fiction. He is more dangerous than his ‘global warming.’”62Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

Key Deeds

March 31, 2020

Robert Murray was included in a list by Rolling Stone in an article titled “Climate Enemies: The Men Who Sold the World.” According to the magazine, “bad actors are not only failing to address the crisis, they’re actively exacerbating it.” The list includes “America’s worst offenders, from fossil-fuel industry magnates, to investment gurus, to the president himself.”63Ryan Bort. “Climate Enemies: The Men Who Sold the World,” Rolling Stone, March 31, 2020. Archived April 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/b4XwR

“Murray’s influence extends beyond his floundering dirty-energy company,” the article states. “For years, he pumped money into a diverse portfolio of conservative groups that continue to push disinformation about the climate crisis. Murray also had an oversize influence on Trump’s climate policy, donating $300,000 to his inaugural committee before handing the president a literal wish list of rollback requests, many of which were dutifully carried out by the administration.”64Ryan Bort. “Climate Enemies: The Men Who Sold the World,” Rolling Stone, March 31, 2020. Archived April 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/b4XwR

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). Murray’s company also donated $60,000 to the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, making it one of the group’s largest donors. See related reporting from The Intercept, Energy and Environment News, and The New York Times.65Lee Fang. “COAL GIANT PROVIDED SECRET FINANCING TO GROUP CHALLENGING CLIMATE LAWSUITS,”The Intercept, December 17, 2019. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/hUjRt 66Scott Waldman. “Murray Energy a major funder of climate denial groups,” E&E News, December 17, 2019. Archived December 20, 2019. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/wip/WrDuT 67Lisa 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 URL: https://archive.ph/ujTS6

Other groups funded by Murray Energy include FreedomWorks, the Cato Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and Judicial Watch. As The New York Times noted, Murray continued to fund climate change denial even as his company was going bankrupt.

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 Murray for President Donald Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry to bail out struggling coal plants. Bloomberg was the first to report:68Ashley Braun. “Rick Perry Resorts to Subsidizing Coal With Measures Used in Wartime and Natural Disasters,” DeSmog, June 1, 2018. 69Jennifer 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

“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, Murray had sent a letter to the White House requesting 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 2018.70Dear Mr. McEntee,” Murray Energy Corporation, August 4, 2017. Retrieed from DocumentCloud. 71FirstEnergy 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

“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.72Justin Mikulka. “Proposed Bailout of Coal and Nuclear Is Trump Admin’s Attempt to Save Dying Industries,” DeSmog, November 10, 2017. 73David 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

Murray claimed FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy could have been prevented if FERC had turned down the rule.74Murray Energy responds to FirstEnergy Solutions bankruptcy,” WTRF, April 3, 2018. Archived June 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/JtZUA

Despite Murray’s claim he “didn’t have any involvement” in the rule DOE proposed to FERC, In 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.75Kate 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 URL: https://archive.li/DKU3r 76Rick Perry hugged a coal baron. This photographer got the picture. Then he was placed on leave,” The Washington Post, January 17, 2018. Archived June 8, 2020. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/xQtwe

April 2018

Bloomberg reported Murray planned to purchase coal-fired power plants in addition to his mining company. The acquisition was expected as early as that year. Murray described his plans at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York.77U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/FxetF

“It’d be the culmination of my life’s work,” he said. “It’s a new concept. If you control the fuel supply, you can price it how you want it.”78U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/FxetF

Murray was considering the purchase of five different power plants, including the W.H. Sammis plant in Ohio and the Bruce Mansfield plant in Pennsylvania, owned by bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions. FirstEnergy Corp’s Pleasants Power Station is another under consideration.79U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/FxetF

“If you can dig coal out of the ground, you sure as heck can run a power plant,” he said. “We can run power plants better than the utilities can.”80U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/FxetF

June 22, 2017

Robert Murray filed a defamation lawsuit against John Oliver, after Oliver criticized Murray Energy and Robert Murray in a 24-minute segment on the coal industry and President Donald Trump’s promise to revive it. A judge threw out the case in 2018, however Murray appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Murray later dropped the suit entirely, although Oliver commented he fully expected to be sued again.81Dylan Brown. “John Oliver claims victory as Murray drops lawsuit,” E&E News, November 11, 2019. Archived June 5, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/xJQAF 82Coal industry titan files defamation lawsuit against John Oliver,” The Denver Post, June 22, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/TUGQ7

Murray issued a lawsuit which accused Oliver of a “meticulously planned attempt to assassinate [his] character and reputation,” The Denver Post reported.83Coal industry titan files defamation lawsuit against John Oliver,” The Denver Post, June 22, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/TUGQ7

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.84How 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

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.”85Murray Energy’s ‘Action Plan’ for the Trump Administration,” The New York TImes, January 9, 2018.

Murray Energy S Action Plan for the Trump (Text)


February 2017

Murray met with Donald Trump and presented a plan that would overturn the classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant, The Guardian reported. The two met when Trump signed the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation issued under the Obama Administration that prevented coal companies from dumping in streams. Murray had called the rule an “unlawful and destructive” attempt to “destroy our nation’s underground coalmines and put our nation’s coalminers out of work.”86Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

“Carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act of 1971 was never a pollutant,” said Murray. “That endangerment finding needs to be overturned. It’s on my list of what needs to be done, because carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.”87Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘can’t bring mining jobs back‘,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OpI6G

February 17, 2017

Speaking with CNBC, Murray claimed that global warming was a hoax citing “4,000 scientists.”88Tom 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 URL: https://archive.is/IVvfC

“There’s no scientific analysis either,” Murray said. “I have 4,000 scientists that tell me global warming is a hoax. The Earth has cooled for 20 years.”89Tom 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 URL: https://archive.is/IVvfC

When asked for clarification, a spokesperson for Murray Energy sent links to the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change, which says “human-caused climate change is not a global crisis,” and the infamous Global Warming Petition Project, also known as the Oregon Petition, a debunked list of those who claim humans don’t cause climate change.90Kevin Grandia. “The 30,000 Global Warming Petition Is Easily-Debunked Propaganda,”The Huffington Post, August 22, 2009. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ULbSv

The Manhattan Declaration is a document devised by the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) and unveiled at the fossil fuel industry-funded Heartland Institute’s 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. ICSC is run by Tom Harris who formerly worked for a PR company called the High Park Group. ICSC also receives funding from the Heartland Institute, which has been at the forefront of climate change denial.91THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE,” International Climate Science Coalition. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RSftS

As Tom DiChristopher noted at CNBC, “Murray’s claim that there is no scientific analysis behind climate change is not true. […] His second claim that Earth is cooling is also false.”92Tom 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 URL: https://archive.is/IVvfC

October 2016

Speaking on CNBC, Murray called Tesla Motors a “Fraud”:93Ben Jervey. “Murray vs. Musk: Coal CEO Calls Tesla a ‘Fraud,’ Doesn’t Mention Subsidies for Failing Coal,” DeSmog, October 13, 2016.

“Tesla is a fraud. [It] has gotten $2 billion from the taxpayer. Has not made a penny yet in cash flow. Here again, it’s subsidies. […] It has nothing to do with the environment. And by the way, you could close down every coal fired plant in the United States today and you would not affect the temperature of the Earth at all. Not at all.”94Ben Jervey. “Murray vs. Musk: Coal CEO Calls Tesla a ‘Fraud,’ Doesn’t Mention Subsidies for Failing Coal,” DeSmog, October 13, 2016.

View the video below:95Ben Jervey. “Murray vs. Musk: Coal CEO Calls Tesla a ‘Fraud,’ Doesn’t Mention Subsidies for Failing Coal,” DeSmog, October 13, 2016.

As outlined by DeSmog, subsidies for electric vehicles are dwarfed by coal subsidies. Murray also criticizes Musk for not earning a profit, while the coal industry itself is going bankrupt (despite billions of dollars their industry receives through special tax preferences). Another distortion is Murray’s claim that America’s coal plants aren’t contributing to global warming.96*Duplicate of source 29.

Murray disagreed with this, sending the following note to DeSmog’s managing editor:97Ben Jervey. “Taking a More Comprehensive Look at Coal Subsidies,” DeSmog, November 24, 2016.

The Guardian reported that Elon Musk had responded to Murray and tweeted that the real fraud going on was “denial of climate science”. “As for ‘subsidies’, Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?” he said.98Elon Musk hits back at coal baron who called him a ‘fraud’ over green subsidies,” The Guardian, October 11, 2016. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/LjvxH

August 10, 2016

Speaking as a guest on the MetroNews show “Talkline,” Murray blamed regulations under President Barack Obama for job losses:99Sunshine Wiles. “Coal executive says UMWA contract agreement essential for continued operations,” MetroNews, August 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/m1jWQ

“I’ve worked night and day for 29 years building this company and creating these jobs only to have them destroyed by Barack Obama and his excessive regulations,” Murray claimed. “Those regulations are coming out against coal, against the utilization of coal as well as the mining of coal faster than we can read them.”100Sunshine Wiles. “Coal executive says UMWA contract agreement essential for continued operations,” MetroNews, August 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/m1jWQ

Murray went on to say that Safety Health Administration inspections are cutting into his production schedules, describing mine inspections as “total harassment”:101Sunshine Wiles. “Coal executive says UMWA contract agreement essential for continued operations,” MetroNews, August 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/m1jWQ

“That means I had to take 89 management people off of inspecting the mines, off of doing safety training. It has nothing to do with safety. It is total harassment. Eighty-nine inspectors for 15 mines,” Murray said.102Sunshine Wiles. “Coal executive says UMWA contract agreement essential for continued operations,” MetroNews, August 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/m1jWQ

May 2016

Bloomberg reported that Murray endorsed Donald Trump for president after meeting him in New York. Murray said Trump cares “very much” about coal miners and coal mining jobs. Murray later said that “nobody” worked harder to make Trump president than he did, adding “and we’re not done yet.”103Tim Loh. “Trump May ‘Dig’ Coal, But Industry’s Outlook Is Flat at Best,” Bloomberg, November 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Nh92d

One of Murray’s goals was for the U.S. to pull out of any global agreements on climate change. Murray said, “so-called global warming is a total hoax.”104Tim Loh. “Trump May ‘Dig’ Coal, But Industry’s Outlook Is Flat at Best,” Bloomberg, November 10, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Nh92d

August 2015

According to documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), and first reported on by Bloomberg in August 2016, a Murray energy attorney and the head of the coal advocacy group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) spoke on a panel titled “The Dangerous Consequences of the Clean Power Plan & Other EPA Rules” during the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) August 2015 Summit.105Nick Surgey. “GOP ATTORNEYS GENERAL HELD PRIVATE MEETINGS WITH FOSSIL FUEL LOBBYISTS ON EXXON INVESTIGATION,” ExposedbyCMD, September 23, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/uzMLV 106Battered Coal Companies Courted State AGs to Fight Climate Rules,” Bloomberg, September 7, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/K7S9o 107Farron Cousins. “Republican Attorneys General Met Secretly with Exxon Lobbyists to Stop Climate Change Investigations,” DeSmog, September 30, 2016.

“Murray Energy Corp. made a $250,000 donation to the Republican Attorneys General Association last year and, in return, the coal mining company’s chief executive got a closed-door meeting with state prosecutors to discuss the Obama administration’s regulation of power plants,” Bloomberg reported, adding that “Eleven days later, the attorneys general went to federal court to fight the rules that Murray Energy says could put the coal industry out of business.”108Battered Coal Companies Courted State AGs to Fight Climate Rules,” Bloomberg, September 7, 2016. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/K7S9o

CMD reported that the panel presentation featured Mike Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Geoffrey Barnes, counsel at Murray Energy, as well as three attorneys general: Scott Pruitt (R-OK), Patrick Morrisey (R-WV), and Ken Paxton (R-TX).109Nick Sergey. “FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY PAID FOR MEETINGS WITH GOP ATTORNEYS GENERAL TO PLAN ATTACK ON CLEAN POWER PLAN,” ExposedbyCMD, September 7, 2016. Archived September 5, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/LcJro

April 2014

After cutting off promised health benefits for one thousand retired coal miners, Murray blamed the Obama administration and its so-called “war on coal”:110Rebecca Leber. “Coal Company Cuts Off Ex-Miners From Their Health Benefits,” ThinkProgress, April 19, 2014. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lnSPj

“Murray Energy’s inability to provide these benefits is, in part, due to the destruction of the coal industry, including our markets, by the Obama Administration and its appointees and supporters, who have eliminated the livelihoods of thousands of coal miners, and their families, by the forced closing of 392 coal-fired electric power plants in America, now and in the immediate future,” Murray said in a statement confirming the cuts. “Due to these action and devastated coal markets, Murray Energy is unable to support these benefits.”111Rebecca Leber. “Coal Company Cuts Off Ex-Miners From Their Health Benefits,” ThinkProgress, April 19, 2014. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lnSPj

Affected workers included all non-union retirees at five West Virginia mines that Murray had recently purchased from CONSOL Energy Inc.112Jared Hunt. “Murray Energy cuts benefits for retired salary workers,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, April 17, 2014. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SjQjw

April 23, 2014

Murray Energy sued the the Labor Department over the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) new rule limiting coal dust, intended to protect coal miners against black lung disease, The Hill reported.113Timothy Cama. “Murray Energy to sue Labor Dept. over coal-dust rule,” The Hill, April 23, 2014. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/A6qm8

“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,” the company said in a statement.114Timothy Cama. “Murray Energy to sue Labor Dept. over coal-dust rule,” The Hill, April 23, 2014. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/A6qm8

March 2014

Murray Energy sued the EPA, alleging the agency failed to comply with the Clean Air Act’s requirement to evaluate the impact of its regulations on employment. “The Administrator has no discretion to avoid or limit its obligation to continuously evaluate the employment impacts of EPA’s administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act,” Murray Energy’s lawsuit stated.115Paul Ramsey. “Murray Energy sues EPA, alleges law noncompliance,” Akron Beacon Journal, March 25, 2014. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/QRlWh

October 15, 2013

As DeSmog reported, and confirmed by a Murray Energy Corp spokesperson, Murray Energy hired climate change denier Steve Milloy as director of external policy and strategy. According to Milloy’s LinkedIn profile, he held that position until May 2015.116Brendan DeMelle. “Climate Denier Steve Milloy Now Director at Coal Giant Murray Energy, On CPAC Global Warming Panel Today,” DeSmog, March 6, 2014. 117Steve Milloy,” LinkedIn. Accessed August 28, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

September 2013

Murray filed a defamation suit against a prominent blogger at The Huffington Post, DeSmog reported.118Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

The complaint accused Mike Stark and The Huffington Post of defamation and invasion of privacy in publishing the September 20, 2013 article titled “Meet the Extremist Coal Baron Bankrolling Ken Cuccinelli’s Campaign.”119Mike Stark. “Meet the Extremist Coal Baron Bankrolling Ken Cuccinelli’s Campaign,” HuffPost, September 20, 2013. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/B1coB

Stark’s article highlights Murray Energy as Cuccinelli’s single largest contributor, pointing to $30,000 that Murray Energy gave Cuccinelli, as well as campaign work by Murray on behalf of Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. The article also covers Murray’s call to impeach President Obama, and his firing of over 150 employees after Obama’s 2012 victory.120Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

The statements that Murray argued constituted defamation were his referring to Murray as an “extremist” and suggesting that the firing of the 150 workers as potential “fulfillment of a promise” after the results of the 2012 election.121Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

On November 1, Mike Stark’s attorneys responded with a motion to dismiss.122Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

“Stark’s article contains no false statements of fact, nor is it misleading, nor does it place Murray in a false light,” they wrote. “More importantly, for purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, the statements in the article about which Plaintiffs complain are not assertions of fact. Rather, the Complaint takes issue only with opinions offered by Stark in the article.”123Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

“[Murray] likely realizes that a lawsuit like this has the effect of diverting resources that a writer or activist like Mike Stark might otherwise use to expose and question the actions of Murray, Murray Energy, and the coal industry,” explained Stark’s lawyers. “This kind of lawsuit could also deter others from engaging in commentary and criticism about Murray and these issues.”124Steve Horn. “Coal Baron and Major Ken Cuccinelli Campaign Donor Sues Blogger for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy,” DeSmog, November 3, 2013.

Murray’s suit was eventually dismissed by a federal judge. However, it was only one of several suits against journalists initiated by Murray.125Jonathan Peters. “A coal magnate’s latest lawsuit was tossed—but Ohio can do more to defend free expression,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 28, 2014. Archived August 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JHvpf

November 2012

The day after Barack Obama was re-elected for a second presidential term in 2012, Murray announced he would lay off a total of 156 employees from Murray Energy and subsidiary companies. Murray blamed the so-called “war on coal” of the Obama administration. Before the announcement, Murray read a prayer to a group of staff members:126After Obama reelection, Murray Energy CEO reads prayer, announces layoffs,” The Washington Post, November 9, 2012. Archived June 8, 2020. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/R6ZMS

“Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”127After Obama reelection, Murray Energy CEO reads prayer, announces layoffs,” The Washington Post, November 9, 2012. Archived June 8, 2020. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/R6ZMS

The Washington Post reported that energy analysts blamed the competition of natural gas for the challenges of the coal mining business, as opposed to the “war on coal” argument repeatedly mentioned during the election.128After Obama reelection, Murray Energy CEO reads prayer, announces layoffs,” The Washington Post, November 9, 2012. Archived June 8, 2020. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/R6ZMS

View Murray’s full prayer below:129Murray Prays for America,” The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register, November 8, 2012. Archived January 21, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dghJd

“Dear Lord:

“The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.

“We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.

“My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.

“The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, ‘To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.’

“Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.

Amen.”

August 2012

During a 2012 rally to promote coal industry jobs, Mitt Romney visited Murray Energy’s Century Mine. A number of news sources reported that Murray Energy had compelled employees to attend the Mitt Romney campaign event without pay. Some coal miners sent anonymous letters to a local radio station, criticizing the coal company for making them take the day off, without pay, and attend the event.130Stephen Lacey. “Coal Workers Say Murray Energy ‘Coerces’ Them To Make GOP Donations: ‘If You Don’t Contribute, Your Job’s At Stake’,” ThinkProgress, October 5, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/uKnAv

Murray Energy CFO Rob Moore denied that workers were “forced” to go, but rather said that attendance was “mandatory” and confirmed that the workers were not paid:131Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HP0or

“Our managers communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend,” Moore said.132Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HP0or

Listen to the radio coverage from News Radio 1170 WWVA below:

“Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” one miner wrote in an email read on air.133Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HP0or

In another email read on air, a miner said he was frustrated with being “forced” to attend, and described a culture of “intimidation” inside Murray: (emphasis added by ThinkProgress)134Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HP0or

“No one likes to be forced to do anything, let alone without pay. I recall hearing a caller claiming that his $100,000 plus Murray salary was grounds for crapping if Murray says crap, or eating broccoli if Murray says to eat it. I say to that man: Many of us, though well educated or hard workers ourselves, do not make half, a third, or sometimes even a quarter of that pay. Had the event not been mandated, most of us probably would have still attended. We are grateful to have the chance to listen to our leaders or potential leaders first hand and to be a part of political history in the making. We do not appreciate being intimidated into exchanging our time for nothing.”135Stephen Lacey. “Miners Say They Were Forced To Attend Romney Campaign Event Without Pay: ‘We Knew What Would Happen’,” ThinkProgress, August 28, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HP0or

2012

According to the Heartland Institute’s “2012 fundraising plan,” which was released as part of a set of leaked documents, the Murray Energy Corporation donated $100,000 to Heartland in 2010 and was expected to donate another $40,000 in 2012. The Heartland Institute, which historically opposed the science linking second-hand smoke to health risks, has become one of the strongest voices promoting climate change denial in America.136Richard Littlemore. “Heartland Insider Exposes Institute’s Budget and Strategy,” DeSmog, February 14, 2012.

May 2010

Murray Energy donated $30,000 to Proposition 23, a proposition that would suspend California’s Global Warming Solutions Act until the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters.137Lance Williams. “Ohio coal company that backed Fiorina also gave to Prop. 23,” California Watch, July 27, 2010. Archived July 30, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zDHHs 138Colin Sullivan. “Drive to Delay Calif. Climate Law May Be Stuck in Neutral,” The New York Times, February 11, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/WKvdr

August 6, 2007

After the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse, which led to the death of nine miners and rescuers, Murray Energy faced an initial assessment of $1.639 million in fines for alleged “flagrant, reckless and highly negligent violations of mine safety law,” NPR reported. The settlement was reduced to $949,351, which still made it the third-largest fine ever levied against a coal company, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.139Howard Berkes. “Coal Mine Company Denies Responsibility Despite Disaster Settlement,” NPR, September 27, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NPGvm

The settlement included Murray Energy’s acceptance of four violations “contributory” to the two fatal mine collapses at Crandall in August 2007:

1. Failure to report a “coal outburst” at the mine four days before the first fatal collapse. “The failure to report this accident,” MSHA inspectors wrote, “denied MSHA an opportunity to investigate it and learn that the mining methods provided inadequate protections.”

2. Two failures in March and August of 2007 to revise the mine’s roof control plan after “coal outbursts” and bounces” that “caused substantial damage” showed that the plan “was not adequate or suitable for controlling” the movement and falling of rock.

3. Failure to leave pillars of coal long enough and wide enough to meet safety standards and to hold up the roof of the mine as coal was removed. The pillars “did not provide sufficient strength to withstand stresses,” mine inspectors wrote, leading to “sudden and violent failure of the overstressed coal pillars” in the Aug. 6 and Aug. 16 collapses, in which nine miners and rescued [sic] were killed.140Howard Berkes. “Coal Mine Company Denies Responsibility Despite Disaster Settlement,” NPR, September 27, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NPGvm

Despite signing the settlement, which left Murray Energy with “acknowledged responsibility for the failures that led to the tragedy,” Murray told NPR that “this settlement is not an admission of any contribution to the August 2007 accidents.”141Howard Berkes. “Coal Mine Company Denies Responsibility Despite Disaster Settlement,” NPR, September 27, 2012. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NPGvm

From 2000 to 2009, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cited Murray Energy for over 7,700 “significant” violations, resulting in $18 million in fines.142Jacob Fenton and Giovanni Russonello. “Coal mine deaths, fines and significant violations for the 10 largest coal mine controllers, 2000-2009,” Investigative Reporting Workshop, November 22, 2010. Archived July 24, 2014. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zppTB

A 2008 MSHA report found that the mine was “destined to fail” because Murray Energy failed to disclose early warning signs.143Associated Press. “Year after mine collapse, many failures clear,” NCB News, August 6, 2008. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/tAEHq

After the Crandall mine disaster, Murray claimed that the event had absolutely nothing to do with “retreat mining” and that the term had been invented by “lackeys for the united mine workers.”144Utah mine disaster – angry mine CEO,” YouTube video uploaded by user shavedape777. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

In a statement responding to a previous Fox News article, Murray Energy reiterated claims that the tragedy was not due to safety violations but rather to an earthquake. “No one knows for certain what caused the tragic collapse at the Crandall Canyon Mine,” the Murray statement read. The statement responded to another Fox News article by Don Fair, which claimed that “Despite what the Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators were telling us that – there was indeed a collapse in the mine – Murray insisted that the problem was caused by an earthquake.” Murray’s response described Fair’s article as “blatantly false, biased and demonizing.”145Setting the record straight about what happened at Crandall Canyon Mine,” Fox News, October 12, 2013. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bzOij 146Don Fair. “Reporter’s Notebook: Memories of the Utah mine disaster,” Fox News, September 19, 2013. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ti3t6

“Retreat mining had absolutely nothing to do with the disaster that happened here, nor was there any retreat mining happening at the time of the disaster,” Murray said in a press conference.147Utah mine disaster – angry mine CEO,” YouTube video uploaded by user shavedape777. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

June 28, 2007

Murray testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, claiming that climate change was based on “faulty science.”148Robert 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.

Murray argued that poor Americans would be impacted by price increases connected to legislation that would curtail greenhouse gas emissions. “We feel very threatened, and frankly afraid, for these people, who only want to work in honor and dignity and have an acceptable quality of life, from what is going on in the Congress,” Murray wrote in his testimony, adding that “Raising energy costs, as this Congress seems intent on accomplishing, will kill American people.”149Robert 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.

“Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will impact our poorest families the hardest,” he reiterated. “The hysterical and out of control climate change or global warming issue, and the legislation that you have proposed, will lead to the deterioration of the American standard of living and the accelerated exportation of more of our jobs to China and other developing countries, which have repeatedly advised, as recent as last week, that they will not limit their carbon dioxide emissions,” he said. “The most ‘inconvenient truth’ is that we do not know how to meet current, much less anticipated future, United States and global energy needs with low- and non-emitting technologies.”150Robert 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.

Murray argued that money should be funneled into research, as opposed to emissions reductions.151Robert 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.

April 2007

Robert Murray delivered a speech on global warming and the coal industry to the New York Coal Trade Association in New York City. In the speech, Murray claimed that the science connecting carbon emissions to global warming is “highly speculative”:152Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

“While some want us to believe that the science behind so-called ‘global warming’ is certain, to the contrary, the actual environmental risk associated with carbon emissions is highly speculative. It is a fact, however, that every proposal introduced to date will provide a far more certain risk that carbon dioxide emission limits will destroy coal and manufacturing dependent communities and inflict great hardships on America’s families.”153Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

Murray went on to describe efforts to curb emissions as “global goofiness”:154Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

“Some wealthy elitists in our Country, who cannot tell fact from fiction, can afford an Olympian detachment from the impacts of draconian climate change policy. For them, the jobs and dreams destroyed as a result will be nothing more than statistics and the cares of other people. These consequences are abstractions to them, but they are not to me, as I can name many of the thousands of the American citizens whose lives will be destroyed by these elitists’ ill-conceived ‘global goofiness’ campaigns.”155Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

Among those cited for evidence by Murray is prominent climate change denier Richard Lindzen, whom Murray quotes: “Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates, and policy makers.”156Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

Murray concludes:

“Climate change science is uncertain, and carbon dioxide capture technology has not been proven on a commercial scale. The Congress must not be stampeded into preempting thorough climate research and the development of carbon capture, transfer, and sequestration technologies with emotionally developed or politically motivated legislation in the current hysterical rampage to enact carbon dioxide emission limitation mandates. […] We must oppose any energy-rationing legislation, whether it is a cap-and-trade or a straight tax on carbon energy. Much is at stake here.”157Robert Murray. “Verbatim: A Coal CEO Addresses Global Warming,” Investors Business Daily, April 4, 2007. Republished by Freerepublic.com. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/komM9

October 2001

Murray was acquitted of charges he had assaulted an environmental activist who had opposed mining near a 400-year-old-forest, The Toledo Blade reported.158Coal company executive cleared of assault charge,” Toledo Blade, October 6, 2001.

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