Coal King Robert Murray Still Spoiling for a Fight with NatGas

Robert Murray

Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray is an interesting character. We’ve reported on him a number of times over the years. Murray went after Aubrey McClendon when Aubrey named is new company American Energy Partners. Murray claimed a subsidiary company he owns already had that name. Eventually a court told Aubrey he could keep the name (see Federal Court Decides McClendon Can Keep ‘American Energy’ Name). In early 2016 Murray went after the shale gas industry in West Virginia. He said WV should lower the coal severance tax from 5% to 2%, and raise the natgas severance tax from 5% to whatever, in order to give coal a break in the Mountain State (see Why Can’t We be Friends: Can Coal & NatGas Get Along in WV?). Even though he rails against natural gas, Murray found it in his heart to lease some of his coal mining property for natgas drilling, twice (see Coal Company Leases 6K Acres for Natgas Drilling in Belmont, OH and Coal Co. Murray Energy Sells 5,900 OH Utica Acres – Who Bought?). The second lease was for $10,800/acre. Seems Murray says one thing but does another when it comes to natgas. Today President Trump delivers on yet another campaign promise by rolling back some of Obama’s draconian environmental regulations–specifically the Clean Power Plan–which will benefit Robert Murray and the coal industry. At least, theoretically. The jury is still out on whether coal will ever come back. Recently the Columbus Dispatch interviewed Murray. He maintains that coal can compete with natural gas “all day long” if only coal had a “level playing field.” Here’s what he said…

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