Murray bankruptcy and the continuing decline of the coal industry
Murray declares bankruptcy
From CNBC earlier this morning:
Murray Energy joins growing list of coal companies to declare bankruptcy
Today's Wall Street Journal sees this as a long-term trend:
In Pro-Trump West Virginia Coal Country, the Jobs Keep Leaving
Fixing the blame
Robert Murray , the coal industry, and Ogden Newspapers have long used the Obama administration's environmental policies as the cause for the industry's decline. Yet another study,this time by regulatory scholars at Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania, refutes that premise. As Forbes reported earlier this month:
. . . . the findings of “Whither the Regulatory ‘War on Coal’? Scapegoats, Saviors and Stock Market Reactions” support a reality that Wall Street has long recognized. Regulation has done little damage to a sector whose declining fortunes are rooted in its own rising costs and, above all else, stiff competition from cheap shale natural gas.
The study also explains how the industry and Republicans (and, I would add, supporters like Ogden Newspapers) used the decline to further its political agenda:
The results also make clear the extent to which the war on coal narrative has been in reality a politically convenient creation of a president, and Republican party, that have catered to fossil fuel interests. In pushing the war on coal narrative the Administration imagined a straw man of Democratic regulatory overreach, which it then pretended to topple, most notably by refusing to implement the Clean Power Plan. The storyline provided Trump with an opportunity to paint himself as a savior to coal constituencies when he was, in fact, incapable of arresting a coal decline rooted in economics rather than policy.
For some, that storyline will continue -- how long will it be until we see an Ogden editorial blaming Obama? I'll bet it's tomorrow (Wednesday).