Largest coal company in the U.S. files for bankruptcy - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Largest coal company in the U.S. files for bankruptcy

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(WSIL) -- Murray Energy, the largest coal company in the United States, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, October 29. 

The announcement came as no surprise to the experts, who say they predicted this for years, because of the slow decline of the coal industry. 

Murray Energy is known as one of the most powerful and well-connected firms in the industry. According to the company's website-- it employs nearly 7,000 people and operates 17 mines-- some of them in Illinois and Kentucky. 

Illinois Coal Association President, Phil Gonet, says when he woke Tuesday morning to the news, he wasn't surprised, "Unfortunately, it is what the major part of the industry has gone through the last several years."

Gonet explained that Murray used to own mines in Saline County, but they shut down back in 2016. Earlier this month, Saline County was hit again with another closure-- the Peabody Wildcat Hills Mine. 

Gonet says the struggle is because of competing energy sources and burdensome demands on coal companies, "We've had over 40 percent of the coal fleet in the United States that has been shut down. A lot of it was shut down because of some of the policies of the Obama administration."

Gonet says President Trump has eased the burden by lifting restrictions, but still the trend of closing mines continues, "We have not had a politician or a president that has kept his promises to an industry as Trump has to coal. He has reversed a lot of the onerous rules that have been coming out of Washington, D.C."
    
Gonet says he has faith coal will make a comeback because he believes the world market will always demand it, "I am still optimistic for the future of our coal in Illinois. Our coal mines are highly productive and for 25 years we've been shipping our coal out of state."

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