Robert Murray’s companies are facing potential bankruptcy despite the coal baron’s strong political ties to the Trump administration.
Last week, Murray Energy Corp. negotiated with lenders to give it more time to pursue restructuring costs with its creditors after missing an interest payment, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s financial obligations exceed its projected income.
Murray’s companies have outlasted several other coal competitors who have entered bankruptcy or gone out of business, and Murray has been particularly active in lobbying the Trump administration to intervene politically on coal’s behalf.
“Despite several attempts, the Trump administration has not stemmed the decline of US coal consumption caused by the sustained drop in natural gas prices and the massive expansion in the U.S. wind fleet,” investor Barry Kupferberg told the Journal.
In fact, there have already been more coal-fired power plant shutdowns under Trump than in Obama’s entire first term.
Think Progress reported on the state of the industry earlier this year with a focus on the demise of Cloud Peak Energy which declared bankruptcy back in May. E.A. Crunden reported:
“Cloud Peak’s financial troubles reflect the broader realities of coal, which is being displaced by cheaper energy sources, including natural gas and renewables. Since 2015, major coal companies Alpha Natural Resources, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Mission Coal, and Westmoreland Coal have all declared bankruptcy amid falling profits and increasing concerns over long-term viability.”
Trump’s love of coal led to the lifting of protections on endangered species in an attempt to help the industry, but it hasn’t done much to protect the actual coal workers who have literally begged for his attention.