In Court Filing, Pro-Trump Murray Energy Blames Trump’s Policies For Bankruptcy
Robert Murray came out early as a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, donating a hefty sum to his inauguration fund and insisting that Trump would be a boon for the dying coal industry.
Murray was also the chief executive of the country’s largest private coal mining company — Murray Energy — and in Trump, he found a pro-business, anti-climate change soulmate who could help keep his company afloat for just a little while longer.
Now, Murray Energy has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the eighth coal company to do so this year, and as noted by climate change blog Heated, Murray pointed to Trump’s own policies — along with the effects of climate change — as causes of his firm’s downfall.
Murray Energy’s 39-page bankruptcy filing was written by Robert Moore, who has taken over Murray’s position as CEO, and three pages in, he lays out the reasons for the company’s financial distress.
Rather than point to Obama-era regulations that Murray had insisted would destroy his business and leave “Grandma” in “the cold,” Moore focused “far more on time period of the Trump administration,” according to Heated.
“The thermal coal markets that Murray traditionally serves have been meaningfully challenged over the past three to four years, and deteriorated significantly in the last several months,” Moore wrote.
He pointed to market forces favoring natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind and solar as contributing factors — never mentioning environmental regulations.
Moving on, Moore drops this little nugget:
At the same time, demand for U.S. coal from international utilities has been subject to its own perfect storm of negative forces*, and the European benchmark price for thermal coal has halved in the last year. The impact of depressed demand and pricing in both domestic and international markets has hit Murray hard in recent months.
The asterisk, Heated noted, leads to the following footnote:
Overall weakness in the global demand for coal has been driven by a number of factors, including: low liquefied natural gas prices; a recent trade war driving Russia to increase exports; mild weather across the Northern Hemisphere led to a reduction in demand for heating in both Europe and Asia; higher freight costs; and a prolonged monsoon season in India which kept demand depressed while conditions cleared for a record eight months. [emphasis added]
Trump’s trade policy is to blame for the increase in Russian exports, and the prolonged monsoon season in India can be linked to climate change, Heated surmised.
In the end, the demise of Murray’s company came at the hands of the man he said would save it, with facilitation from environmental factors he claimed did not exist.
Still, the coal magnate knew his company’s inevitable future. He said at an industry conference in 2014 that “[Coal] isn't coming back. It's permanent. Virtually all of it is permanent."
He simply hoped his business strategy would “sustain us as the industry is destroyed."