The afternoon Wheeling News-Register is reporting that Murray Energy will close the No. 6 Powhatan mine in November:
Murray Energy Corp. spokesman Gary Broadbent this morning confirmed the Powhatan No. 6 Mine will close in November, likely leaving about 430 coal miners unemployed.
Powhatan No. 6 Mine, represented by the UMWA, will be closed while Bealsville's Century Mine, which is non-union, will remain open. Not mentioned in the article is that speculation for this action has been around for at least four years. Casey Junkins, who wrote this article, reported on the difference between the two mines back in 2012:
However, Murray said President Obama's "war on coal" - combined with what he terms "non-efficient work rules imposed by the United Mine Workers of America" - may force him to close the nearby Powhatan No. 6 Mine, which he has operated since buying it in 1988. Union officials said there are now 487 UMWA members working at the Powhatan mine.
Closing the Powhatan facility would, in effect, make the addition to the Century Mine a replacement for the Powhatan mine, Murray said. The major difference in the Century Mine and Powhatan mine is that Century is a non-union mine, while Powhatan is represented by the UMWA. (Emphasis mine.)
Of course, Murray Energy does not mention unions in today's announcement of the coming closure of the Powhatan mine. Instead, the last half of the article gives us a rehashing of a Robert Murray speech from January in which he blamed the president and radical environmentalists for all that has gone wrong in the coal industry:
"President Obama said that he would bankrupt coal. He, his political supporters, radical environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club and Easter Seals, and liberal elitists, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have made good on this," Robert E. Murray, chairman, president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said in January while addressing the West Virginia Coal Association Mining Symposium in Charleston.
(Yes, the "radical" Easter Seals. See here for an explanation.)
Let's see -- Murray Energy will close one of its last UMWA mines in the same month that the country holds it presidential election -- I'm sure it's all just a coincidence.