Biggest private U.S. coal producer warns of massive layoffs

Biggest private U.S. coal producer warns of massive layoffs

[Ed. – Even WSJ buries the lede on this.  Coal would still be very competitive if Obama weren’t deliberately trying to kill it.  Gas isn’t killing coal; the Obama EPA is killing coal.]

In a notice sent to workers this week, Murray said it could lay off as many as 4,400 employees, or about 80% of its workforce, because of weak coal markets. The company said it anticipates “massive workforce reductions in September.”

The law requires a 60-day waiting period before large layoffs occur.

The American coal industry, especially in Appalachia, has languished as cheap natural gas replaces coal as fuel for power plants. World-wide demand for coal has also slumped, and new environmental regulations are making many coal mines unprofitable to operate.

The Central Appalachian coal price benchmark is $40 a ton, or half its level from five years ago. Almost all of the biggest coal producers in the U.S. have declared bankruptcy in the past 18 months, including Peabody Energy Corp., Arch Coal Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc.

Robert Murray, the controlling owner of Murray, is a fierce opponent of President Barack Obama and a supporter of Donald Trump. In a statement, the company said the potential layoffs were “due to the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama, and his supporters, and the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity.”

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