Robert E. Murray, RIP

Robert E. Murray, founder of Murray Energy and a fiercest opponent in industry of global warming alarmism, died age 80 on October 25 at his home in Saint Clairsville, Ohio. His survivors include his wife Brenda, sons Rob, Ryan, and Jonathan, and eight grandchildren.

Bob’s father and grandfather were coal miners, and he grew up poor in Ohio. He won a scholarship to Ohio State University and after graduating went into the coal business. Starting in 1988, Bob built the biggest privately owned coal company in the United States and perhaps the world. He was proud of the affordable energy that his company produced and intensely loyal to the miners who worked to produce that coal.

When the global warming bandwagon started to roll, most publicly owned coal companies were unwilling to fight aggressively to save their industry. Bob felt strongly that he had a responsibility to take on the fight. And he did. He took on the climate industrial complex and the environmental pressure groups. He became a major donor and fundraiser for candidates who supported free markets and opposed attempts to regulate his industry out of existence. He funded non-profit groups that opposed the climate agenda. And his fiery speeches and appearances on television news shows regularly inspired or provoked nearly everyone who listened to him.

In the last few years, Bob’s health problems became much more severe, but he still managed to work a heavy schedule while hooked up to an oxygen canister. In 2019 Murray Energy went into bankruptcy. Despite these major challenges, Bob’s determination to keep fighting stayed strong. My own view is that his righteous anger kept him going even as his body was failing.

Murray Energy emerged from bankruptcy on September 16 as a new company, American Consolidated Natural Resources. Bob resigned as chairman on October 19. His nephew Rob Moore is now CEO. His three sons also continue to be involved.

It was my good fortune to work with Bob for a number of years in opposing global warming alarmism and its misbegotten energy rationing policies, such as the mercury air pollution rule and the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill. I came to know him well as a friend as well as an ally and to admire his courage, passion, and tenacity. Bob loved and believed in America. In his death, we have lost a great American.

Obituaries have been published by a number of papers, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Washington Post.