Murray Energy

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.”


Murray Energy Exits Bankruptcy, Rehires Union Miners

Sep 16, 2020
Sydney Boles | Ohio Valley ReSource

Coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp. has emerged from bankruptcy with a new name and a commitment to rehire all of its former union employees, according to a news release from the United Mine Workers of America.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts said on Wednesday that a new collective bargaining agreement has been finalized between the coal miners union and American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc., which took over Murray Energy’s assets.

“There is much to be concerned about for those of us associated with and working in the coal industry during these troubling times, but it is good that this process has finally been completed and our members can put the uncertainty of the bankruptcy behind them,” he said.

A coal mine in Ohio County will close in a couple of months, forcing the layoff of about 250 workers. 

In a WARN notice sent to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training on Thursday, the Western Kentucky Coal Company announced plans to close its Genesis Mine in Centertown on Feb. 24. 

The decision comes after parent company Murray Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. Murray Energy also owns Midway Mine in Centertown and Pride Mine in Muhlenberg County. 

Coal companies are struggling to stay afloat as industries switch from coal to cheaper and cleaner forms of energy. 

Becca Schimmel

Union coal miners and retirees breathed a collective sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate passed a spending bill that includes support for miners’ pensions, which had been at risk due to the coal industry’s downturn. 

The bill, which funds the federal government for the coming year, also includes The Bipartisan American Miners Act which secures pension and health benefits for retirees.

The United Mine Workers says that without Congressional action about 82,000 retirees and widows could have lost some or all of their retirement benefits in 2020. 


Senator Joe Manchin YouTube screenshot

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin pledged Wednesday to block all legislation until pensions and health benefits are secured for coal miners. 

Manchin said no legislation will pass the Senate until he is assured that coal miners’ benefits will be in the spending bill used to fund the federal government.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act would permanently secure pensions for about 82,000 coal miners who could lose their retirement benefits by sometime next year without congressional action.


Sydney Boles | Ohio Valley ReSource

The recent bankruptcy of Murray Energy is likely to significantly increase the debt of a struggling federal trust fund that supports disabled miners’ health care expenses.

According to court filings, Murray Energy could be responsible for as much as $155 million under the Black Lung Act and general workers’ compensation, but testimony from the Government Accountability Office shows that the company only offered $1.1 million in collateral to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. That means the struggling fund will likely have to take on at least some of that liability.


Ohio-Based Coal Giant Murray Energy Declares Bankruptcy

Oct 29, 2019
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

Murray Energy Corp., the largest underground coal mining company in America with a substantial footprint across the Ohio Valley, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

“Although a bankruptcy filing is not an easy decision, it became necessary to access liquidity and best position Murray Energy and its affiliates for the future of our employees and customers and our long term success,” company founder Robert Murray said in a release.


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.