By Timothy Cama - 04/15/15 11:09 AM EDT
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.
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.