FILE PHOTO: In an Aug, 26, 2007 file photo, Robert Murray, center, chief executive of Murray Energy Corp., smiles while talking to Dave Canning, left, and Mike Glassom, right, two miners in charge of drilling bore holes into the Crandall Canyon M before a news conference northwest of Huntington, Utah.
Kenny Crookston / AP Photo
‘I’m fighting for … my company’: Despite bankruptcy and illness, Bob Murray remains a loud voice for coal
Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers the mid-Atlantic region and energy issues. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.
The man most closely linked to President Trump’s push to make coal great again — and the head of the country’s largest privately owned coal mining company — is now the latest to reckon with the industry’s decline.
Bob Murray announced in October that Murray Energy had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Murray has stepped aside as president and CEO but will remain chairman. He’ll give up his ownership stake of the companies involved in the bankruptcy. But the vocal executive, with his close ties to the Trump administration, plans to continue advocating for coal.
Murray will turn 80 years old in January. He’s less steady on his feet these days and uses oxygen to help him breathe. He suffers from a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
He says it’s not related to years of working underground in coal mines, but doctors say it can be difficult to know exactly what causes the disease. Murray says three hospitals have rejected him for a lung transplant because of a history of strokes.
“Not only am I fighting for my own life, but I’m fighting for the life of my employees — my company,” says Murray.