The CEO of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company that reportedly required employees to attend a Mitt Romney rally during the campaign, read a prayer to employees that announced a round of layoffs due to President Obama’s “war on coal.”
Robert E. Murray read the prayer to a group of staff members the day after President Obama defeated Mitt Romney to win re-election, decrying the direction of the country and announcing that there would be layoffs as a result.
On Wednesday Robert E. Murray followed up on those threats, laying off 54 Murray Energy employees at American Coal, one of the subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy. Murray blamed a “war on coal” by the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported.
Murray Energy is the largest privately owned coal mining company in the United States. The company says it has about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year.
In August, Murray Energy was accused of forcing miners to attend a Mitt Romney campaign speech in southeastern Ohio, the New Republic reported. Robert E. Murray denied the charge, but has been found guilty of another charge — harming the environment. His company has spilled coal slurry into a creek on seven different occasions, the Washington Post reported.
Robert E. Murray’s speech to Murray Energy employees was released by the Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register.
Here is the full text:
“The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.
“We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.
“My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.
“The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, “To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.”
“Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.”
Critics have called Robert E. Murray’s prayer to Murray Energy employees a cop out for layoffs that would likely have been necessary anyway. The rise of natural gas, from the increase of techniques like hydrofracking, have driven down the price of natural gas, the San Francisco Chronicle noted in September.
In 1985, coal made up 57 percent of all power generated in the United States, but the US Energy Information Administration estimates it will fall to 40 percent this year. Prices for Appalachian coal have also dropped 24 percent in the last year. So though Robert E. Murray wants to blame Murray Energy’s layoffs on President Obama, it appears to critics to have more to do with the marketplace.