Energy & Environment

Coal magnate Robert Murray dies at 80

Coal magnate Robert "Bob" Murray has died at the age of 80. 

According to multiple reports, the industry giant and prominent advocate for pro-coal policies died Sunday of a lung disorder. 

In 1988, he founded his namesake firm, Murray Energy, which later became one of the largest coal companies in the country. After filing for bankruptcy last year, the company reemerged as American Consolidated Natural Resources. 

Murray was outspoken against government regulations on the industry, including the Obama administration's clean air regulations. 

He sued the Obama administration several times, including over its Clean Power Plan, which imposed restrictions on coal-fired power plants. That rule has since been replaced with a Trump administration rollback. 

Murray has also made significant donations to Republicans, including a political action committee supporting President Trump's reelection. 

The coal executive announced that he was retiring from his company last week. He also recently filed for benefits from the Labor Department for black lung disease after opposing mine safety regulations. 

Murray made headlines in recent years not just for his coal activities but also for a high-profile spat with comedian John Oliver. He sued Oliver over a segment criticizing him but ultimately lost the case. 

His death means the loss of an outspoken voice for coal, an industry that has been in decline in recent years. 

In the U.S., many coal plants shuttered in recent years. A study published in January found that between 2005 and 2016, 334 coal-fired units were shut down.

Outbrain