Coal company lays off hundreds, blames Obama policies

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A major Appalachian coal mining company is laying off hundreds of workers in West Virginia and blaming the lost jobs on President Obama’s environmental policies.

Murray Energy Corp. will lay off the 214 workers at three mines in Marion and Marshall counties.

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Murray said in a late Tuesday statement that the layoffs are “due to the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaAn important week for Puerto Rico In Philadelphia Clinton and Trump should start naming their foreign policy picks Jesse Jackson group urges blacks to unite — and vote MORE, and his supporters, by the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity, and by the extremely excessive coal severance tax in the state of West Virginia.”

Bob Murray, the company’s head, is an outspoken critic of Obama.

He was accused in 2012 of forcing miners to attend a rally for Mitt Romney and laid off workers after the election. He’s called the Obama administration “insane” and “regal.”

The announcement came two days before Murray will argue before a federal court in Washington, D.C., that the Obama administration’s landmark climate change regulation is illegal.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon limit for power plants has not been made final, Murray has argued in court briefs that it is already causing power utilities to switch away from coal use, and it needs to be stopped.

The EPA expects the rule to reduce coal’s market share for electricity by more than 20 percent.

The coal industry has complained that other Obama regulations have also harmed its operations, including limits on toxic air pollution and miner safety rules.