Murray Energy files for bankruptcy as U.S. coal decline continues

(Reuters News, 29 Oct 2019) Eight other coal companies have filed for bankruptcy over the last two years as natural gas has taken over as the primary fuel for U.S. power plants.

Murray Energy Corp, one of the largest privately-held U.S. coal miners, whose founder is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, became the latest in a string of coal companies to file for bankruptcy on Tuesday as generators shift to cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable energy.

As part of a restructuring, founder Robert Murray, a Trump ally and climate change denier, will step down as chief executive and a lender group will take on more than 60% of about $1.7 billion in claims.

"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," Robert Murray said in a statement.

The bankruptcy comes even after the Trump administration weakened or eliminated dozens of environmental regulations that Murray and other executives had called burdensome for the coal industry.

Early in the Trump presidency, Murray presented the administration with a wish list of environmental regulations he wanted slashed as coal companies have struggled due to growing use of renewables and cheap natural gas.

Eight other coal companies have filed for bankruptcy over the last two years as natural gas has taken over as the primary fuel for U.S. power plants, while coal's share of generation has collapsed.

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Reuters News, 29 Oct 2019: Murray Energy files for bankruptcy as U.S. coal decline continues