Bob Murray

Ohio Valley Coal Mine Executive Bob Murray Dead at 80

Oct 26, 2020
Glynis Board

Robert E. Murray, the founder and former president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp., formerly the largest privately held underground coal company in the country, has died. He was 80 years old. 

Murray’s death was reported Sunday evening by television stations WTOV9 in Steubenville, Ohio, and WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia. According to the news outlets, a spokesperson for the Murray family and a coal industry official confirmed his death.

Murray last week announced he was retiring as chairman of the board of  American Consolidated Natural Resources, the newly formed coal company that emerged following the conclusion of Murray Energy’s bankruptcy process this summer. Last month, the Ohio Valley ReSource reported the coal magnate had applied for federal black lung benefits. On his application, Murray wrote he was heavily dependent on the oxygen tank he was frequently seen using and was “near death.”


Sydney Boles

  After applying for black lung benefits, Robert Murray, founder and former president of the now-bankrupt coal company Murray Energy Corp., announced Monday he was leaving the business after more than 60 years in the industry. 

Murray Energy emerged from bankruptcy protection last month as American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR). The 80-year-old Murray was named chairman of the board of the new company, which remains the largest privately-held underground coal company in the United States. 


Sydney Boles

Robert E. Murray, the former CEO and president of the now-bankrupt Murray Energy, has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Labor for black lung benefits. For years, Murray and his company fought against federal mine safety regulations aimed at reducing the debilitating disease.

“I founded the company and created 8,000 jobs there until the move to end coal use. I am still chairman of the board,” he wrote on a Labor Department form that initiated his claim obtained by the Ohio Valley ReSource. “We’re in bankruptcy, and due to my health could not handle the president and CEO job any longer.”


Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

Coal executive Bob Murray clashed Monday with federal energy regulators at a Lexington, Kentucky, energy forum over what Murray called a failure by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sufficiently support the struggling coal industry.

“The word that I’ve been using to describe FERC is feckless,” Murray told the audience, including FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee.

Murray wanted FERC, which regulates the wholesale transmission of energy, to enact a Trump Administration proposal that would have subsidized coal-fired power plants and helped keep them competitive with cheaper natural gas. Murray Energy and other coal companies argues that without enough coal in the nation’s fuel mix the electric grid could become unreliable, posing a risk to national security.


Senate committee video

During a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing Wednesday on his nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler was pressed by members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works about the impact of the government shutdown on the agency.

Wheeler noted one casualty of the ongoing partial government shutdown, now in its fourth week, is that a long-awaited plan on regulating the PFAS group of chemicals has been delayed.