What Fox Didn't Tell You: This Coal CEO Who Broke Down In Tears Is Attacking Miners' Health Protections

Murray Energy

Coal giant Murray Energy's chief executive was promoted on Fox News to express “concern” about coal miners by attacking the Obama Administration's keystone climate change legislation. Here's what wasn't mentioned during the segment -- or any time this year on Fox News prime time: the organization has been fighting an effort to regulate coal dust, which would help save hundreds of coal miners' lives.

The July 31 edition of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto featured coal CEO Bob Murray to attack the Environmental Protection Agency's recently proposed carbon pollution standards. When Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked him to expand on his claim that the standards will “hurt the coal industry,” Murray nearly broke down in tears while claiming that the standards will harm the industry with “no environmental benefit at all.” He then touted the possibility of “clean coal technology” as a substitute, and stated, “I'm concerned about my coal miners”:

Actions speak louder than words: Murray Energy has been fighting a coal dust regulation for months that would help save 1,500 coal miners' lives each year. On April 23, the U.S. Labor Department announced a long-awaited rule to regulate coal dust, which causes the deadly black lung disease; the disease has reportedly killed over 76,000 miners since 1968. The new rule would restrict exposure to coal dust to half of the current limit, a move that is estimated to lower medical bills by about $37 million a year and help save hundreds of lives. Murray Energy announced that it would file a federal lawsuit against the regulation later that day.

Fox News' prime time shows, including Your World With Neil Cavuto, have not mentioned the move to protect coal miners from coal dust, nor Murray Energy's attempt to dismantle it.*

The EPA's carbon standards will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels and are an important effort to mitigate climate change. Their health benefits are expected to help prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in 2030. Murray Energy is attempting to sue these regulations as well, and its effort has gained support from nine state legislatures.

Murray infamously fired 156 mine workers in response to Barack Obama defeating Mitt Romney for presidency in 2012. Slate's Dave Weigel put the move into context, calling it unnecessary and “amoral”:

There was no need for him to sack these people so quickly. There was no guarantee that he'd be dramatically more profitable in, say, March 2013. But he fired them, because he's basically amoral.

*Based on a Nexis search of Fox News primetime shows for “coal dust” from January 1 to July 31.