Coal CEO Lays Off Workers, Blames Obama Administration

Murray Energy Corporation CEO, Robert E. Murray (from company website)
Murray Energy Corporation CEO, Robert E. Murray (from company website)

The morning after Election Day, Murray prayed before his staff and asked God for forgiveness for decisions the Ohio-based company was forced to make to preserve its existence. He announced the layoffs of roughly 160 employees, mostly in Utah and Illinois, blaming the White House's "War on Coal".

Murray backed Mitt Romney for president. Controversy surrounded a campaign ad showing Romney with Murray Energy coal miners. Some later claimed they were forced to participate without pay, others said they were pressured to contribute to Romney's campaign.

Requests for comment haven't been returned by Murray Energy. But critics say declines in coal are attributable to a drop in markets, not the White House.

The federal government says coal generated power in the U.S. will drop to 40 percent this year, compared to 57 percent 27 years ago. Natural gas has been rising in popularity across the region, with fracking operations tapping into the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.

Murray Energy employs 3,000 workers and produces 30 million tons of coal annually.

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