Murray Energy Corporation produces approximately 30 million tons of bituminous coal each year and employs approximately 3,000 people in the United States. In addition to its mining operations, Murray Energy owns and operates river, truck, and rail terminals on the Ohio River; a rail loadout facility in Central Utah; and a diesel and mining equipment rebuild facility in West Virginia.
Crandall Canyon Mine collapse
Murray and his companies received national attention in August 2007 when six miners were trapped at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah, of which Murray Energy independent operating subsidiary UtahAmerican Energy had been a part-owner for 12 months. Prior to the collapse, the Crandall Canyon Mine had received 64 violations and $12,000 in fines, magnitudes similar to other mines of this size in the United States. He says that the safety violations were trivial and included violations such as not having enough toilet paper in the restroom. However, some news agencies reported troubling violations at other of Murray's operations. CNN specifically cited Murray's Illinois Galatia mine, which had almost 3,500 safety citations in the prior two and a half years.
Murray claims that the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse was triggered by a 3.9 magnitude earthquake, while government seismologists say the mine collapse was the cause of a coal mine bump. Richard E. Stickler, the government's top mine safety official said "It was not -- and I repeat, it was not -- a natural occurring earthquake."
On July 24, 2008, the U.S. government's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced its highest penalty for coal mine safety violations, $1.85 million, for the collapse. The government fined Genwal Resources $1.34 million "for violations that directly contributed to the deaths of six miners last year," plus nearly $300,000 for other violations. The government also levied a $220,000 fine against a mining consultant, Agapito Associates, "for faulty analysis of the mine's design."
Since 2005, the Murray Energy PAC has donated over $150,000 to Republican candidates, including donations totaling $30,000 to Senate candidates such as George Allen, Sam Brownback, and Katherine Harris. The Ohio Valley Coal PAC, another group affiliated with Murray Energy, donated $10,000 for George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign.
In addition to serving on the board of directors of the National Mining Association, Murray actively lobbies for pro-industry legislation through his company's Political Action Committee. In 2001, he testified on behalf of the NMA before a House Ways and Means subcommittee in favor of proposed tax cuts.
On August 14, 2012, Murray hosted Mitt Romney at Murray Energy’s Century coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio. Several miners contacted a nearby morning talk radio host, David Blomquist to complain that they were forced to attend the rally without pay. Murray chief operating officer Robert Moore said: "Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event." Murray closed the mine the day of the rally and suspended pay to workers, arguing that the rally was important to the coal industry and that attending was in the workers' "best interest." Murray and his corporation are a major donor to Romney and other Republicans, and employees report frequent instances of political pressure from management. In October 2012, the non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Murray and his company alleging violations of federal campaign law in which employees of Murray Energy were supposedly required to give one percent of their salary to the company's political action committee.
In May 2012, the coal-king hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for defeated Republican candidate Romney and in August Romney used Murray's Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio to give a speech attacking Barack Obama as anti-coal. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2230684/Midwest-coal-firm-CEO-reads-staff-prayer-divine-intervention-Obama-election-lays-156-them.html
On 9 November 2012 he made good on his promise of downsizing his company if Barack Obama was re-elected by firing 156 workers in spite of the fact that the $1.7 million he gave to the Republican candidates would have been sufficient to keep these jobs.
Climate Change Denier
Murray has been an outspoken critic of the scientific opinion on climate change. In June 2007, he told the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that "the science of global warming is suspect." He also wrote in a May 2007 MarketWatch editorial: "The actual environmental risk associated with carbon emissions is highly speculative."