Quantcast
Climate

Even Coal Baron Robert Murray Knows the Future of Coal is Dead

Last week, Standard & Poor dropped huge multinational coal company Peabody Energy from its S&P 500 Index. Last spring, SNL Energy News said that, "The total market value of publicly traded U.S. coal companies has rebounded slightly in recent months, but remains nearly 63 percent lower than a total of the same companies at a near-term coal market peak in April 2011," citing "a perfect storm of factors, including new federal regulations impacting coal-burning power plants, cheap competing fuels, railroad service issues and weak global markets."

There'll be no light at the end of the tunnel for the coal industry if U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on carbon emissions go into effect, says coal tycoon Bob Murray.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

And, as nearly 400,000 people marched in the People's Climate March in New York City, raising pressure for action on climate change, coal loomed as a target. A parade of world government, business and financial leaders talked about their proposed efforts to reduce emissions—which means reducing the use of coal.

Needless to say, this isn't making Robert Murray happy. He's founder and CEO of the Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal company in the U.S., based in south central Ohio.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Murray spoke at a coal industry conference this week, predicting gloom and doom for the industry and for humanity if carbon regulations are increased. He says proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations will permanently destroy the coal industry adding, “Grandma is going to be cold and in the dark with what they’re doing.” He's already filed multiple lawsuits against the EPA.

Murray's speech was filled with the sort of florid language he is known for. SNL Energy News reported:

"It isn't about me. I'm an old man," he said, his voice rising. "It isn't about Murray Energy. It's about what's happening to this country. It starts with my employees. If they own anything, it's their home. And if two of them lose their jobs, who are they going to sell it to? These people just want to work with honor and dignity for the rest of their lives and they are denied that. They go to the negative side of the ledger and they stay there forever. This is not the country I cherish." 

"Mr. Murray likened the White House to the Gestapo and the SS during Nazi Germany, and said it has pushed back against his efforts to stop environmental regulations to such an extent that he has felt compelled to hire former CIA operatives to provide security," wrote the Post-Gazette.

Earlier this year, he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that regulations on coal emissions are "evil" and a "power grab of America's power grid."

Murray first attracted widespread public attention in 2007, following the collapse of his Crandall Canyon mine in Utah that killed six miners when he made statements widely perceived to be insensitive and insisted that the collapse was caused by an earthquake, contrary to what scientists found.

Controversy seems to follow Murray. He's lobbied against legislation mandating safety devices for miners. In 2012, he again attracted public attention when some miners claimed employees were ordered to attend a Mitt Romney campaign event or lose their jobs. The nonprofit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against the company with the Federal Elections Commission charging that it pressured employers to donate 1 percent of their salary to a company PAC that supported candidates such as Romney, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor and Scott Brown. And Murray sued the Charleston Gazette for its coverage of his support of Romney. Earlier this year, he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that regulations on coal emissions are "evil" and a "power grab of America's power grid."

Last year, George Elmaraghy, director of the water division of Ohio's EPA resigned, saying he was forced out by Gov. John Kasich and pressure from the coal industry, which donated over $1 million to Kasich's 2010 campaign coffers. The Columbus Dispatch reported, "More than $870,000 of the overall amount comes from just two coal families: the Boiches, who run the Boich companies, and Robert Murray, who runs Murray Energy."

And of course, he's an outspoken climate denier. "This global warming is a hoax," he told Cavuto. He told West Virginia Executive in May that one of his lawsuits against the EPA was to force them to "tell the truth" about global warming.

"They are not telling hardly any truth about the science," he said. "The earth has actually cooled over the last 17 years, so under the Data Quality Act, they’ve actually been lying about so-called global warming.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coal CEO Wants to Sue EPA For ‘Lying About So-Called Global Warming'

EPA Administrator Declares War on Coal on ‘Real Time With Bill Maher'

The Incredible Shrinking U.S. Coal Industry

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
African elephant. USFWS

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration Over New Elephant and Lion Trophy Policies, Still in Effect Despite Trump's Tweets

The Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Trump administration Monday for allowing U.S. hunters to import elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe. The lawsuit aims to protect animals and resolve confusion created by the administration's contradictory announcements in recent days.

The suit comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abruptly reversed an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports based on catastrophic elephant population declines. Fish and Wildlife also recently greenlighted lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe, despite the controversial killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in 2015.

Keep reading... Show less
Below the Mackinac bridge runs Enbridge Line 5, transporting 23 Million gallons of oil and liquid gas every day. Conor Mihell

Four Questions About the New Line 5 Pipeline Report

By Beth Wallace

In June, the state of Michigan released a draft report on alternatives to Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline, which pumps up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) per day along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The draft report, written by Dynamic Risk, was met with heavy criticism from all sides, and the National Wildlife Federation joined with many others to suggest numerous and substantive changes. On Nov. 20, the final alternatives report was released to the public. As per an agreement with the state to obtain funding for the report, Enbridge has had five days to review this report before it is released publicly.

Keep reading... Show less
USDA

Thanksgiving Dinner Is Cheapest in Years, But Are Family Farms Paying the Price?

By Sarah Reinhardt

Last week, the Farm Bureau released the results of its annual price survey on the cost of a typical Thanksgiving dinner. The grand total for a "feast" for 10 people, according to this year's shoppers? About 50 dollars ($49.87, if you want to be exact). That includes a 16-pound turkey at $1.40 per pound, and a good number of your favorite sides: stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.

After adjusting for inflation, the Farm Bureau concluded that the cost of Thanksgiving dinner was at its lowest level since 2013. Let's talk about what that means for farmers, and for all of us.

Keep reading... Show less

Would More People Ride the Bus if It Looked and Felt Like a Train?

By Jeff Turrentine

It moves through city thoroughfares, towering above automobile traffic. It makes frequent stops to pick up and drop off passengers. It has places to sit, places to stand, and—yes—rubber-tired wheels that go 'round and 'round, all through the town.

But don't call it a bus. It's a "trackless electric train."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Electric Car Sales Surge 63% Globally

Electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain momentum on the world market.

Global sales of electric and hybrid cars are 63 percent higher than the same quarter last year, and up 23 percent from the second quarter, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

Keep reading... Show less
Harvesting sugarcane in Brazil. Jonathan Wilkins / CC BY-SA

Jet Fuel From Sugarcane? It’s No Flight of Fancy

By Deepak Kumar, Stephen P. Long and Vijay Singh

The aviation industry produces two percent of global human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. This share may seem relatively small—for perspective, electricity generation and home heating account for more than 40 percent—but aviation is one of the world's fastest-growing greenhouse gas sources. Demand for air travel is projected to double in the next 20 years.

Airlines are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions, and are highly vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations. These challenges have spurred strong interest in biomass-derived jet fuels. Bio-jet fuel can be produced from various plant materials, including oil crops, sugar crops, starchy plants and lignocellulosic biomass, through various chemical and biological routes. However, the technologies to convert oil to jet fuel are at a more advanced stage of development and yield higher energy efficiency than other sources.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Renewable Energy
"Eólica" or wind power plant in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. ICE Group / Twitter

Costa Rica Runs Entirely on Renewable Energy for 300 Days

Costa Rica has charted another clean energy accolade. So far this year, the Central American country has run on 300 days of 100 percent power generation from renewable energy sources, according to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), which cited figures from the National Center for Energy Control.

With six weeks left of 2017 to go, Costa Rica could easily surpass 300 days.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
iStock

Starbucks Falls Short on Environmental Commitments

By Davis Harper

Since the early 1970s, Starbucks has held a special place in cupholders. Widespread infatuation with the company's caffeinated beverages has earned the coffee giant a storefront on almost every corner. With outposts in 75 countries and a whopping 13.3 million people enrolled in its loyalty rewards program, Starbucks has scorched nearly all of its closest competitors among major U.S. food brands (most of which aren't even coffee chains) in total market value.

With such reach and power comes tremendous responsibility. Starbucks touts its own corporate responsibility—claiming to be climate-change-aware and cognizant of its environmental cup-print—but how many latte-sippers know that their paper cup actually isn't recyclable and that it'll likely end up in a landfill? Might the knowledge that Starbucks's meat supply is pumped with antibiotics alter the market's appetite for the popular chicken and double-smoked bacon sandwich? Although the company prides itself on environmental awareness and progress toward sustainable products, multiple reports point to the mega-corporation's failure to live up to its own purported standards.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!