On Friday, Oct 11, CNN Business reported that Murray Energy owned by Robert Murray, the “king of coal”, is slipping into “financial collapse”, thus marking another coal business plummeting into bankruptcy. For coal miners and those in the coal industry, this means that the industry will likely become obsolete within the next few years among rising concern for the environmental impact of coal on climate change as well as the lesser costs of natural fuel and green energy substitutes. On the surface, the coal industry does more harm than good: its unsafe work conditions, causes lung and respiratory issues for many of its employees, and causes damage to the environment. Unfortunately, thousands of employees still depend on the coal industry to provide paychecks and a means of living in an economy dipping near recession.
Other large coal corporations such as BlackJewel LLC have filed for bankruptcy, leaving workers stranded in a confusion as their paychecks are withheld in a mess of financial struggles. CNN Business speculates that the worst affected will be the Murray Energy employees who stand to lose their health care benefits and pensions if the company enters into bankruptcy. In the turning age of 2020, it does not seem as if Trump’s promise in 2016 for a “coal revival” will come to light as people are not turning to coal as a viable energy option.
Until now, Murray Energy has stayed afloat by shipping out products instead of remaining domestic, but even prices overseas have dropped from lack of demand. Even with a Trump-appointed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler leading the EPA, the market creating a floor for coal has fallen out. Murray appealed to the Trump administration in August 2017 to provide protection to coal-fired power plants but the request was ignored. With a company as large as Murray Energy falling into the pit of failing coal businesses, it is easy to predict a future in which the coal industry is an obsolete business of the past, similar to failed technology industries that are unable to change with the needs of society.