Robert Murray, chief executive at Murray Energy, the largest coal mining company in America, says coal remains essential for low cost energy and the "reliability of our electric power grid." In fact, he says, the country can't get through winter without it.
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“We must have at least 30 percent of our electricity generation mix, or we will wind up with people freezing in the dark with unreliable electricity, and very high cost electricity. Mr. Branson is not a person that I would want to listen to for any advice,” Murray told the FOX Business Network.
Sir Richard Branson, British billionaire and Virgin Group founder recently bashed the coal industry, saying “I can’t think of anything more stupid than to talk about bringing coal back."
Murray, who said Branson had no "pulpit to verse an opinion at all," on coal, was also "not a person that I would want to listen to for any advice."
President Trump promised to put “miners back to work” in March as he signed an executive order that withdrew Obama-era regulations on energy, ushering “an end to the war on coal.”
The industry, which lost nearly 10,000 jobs from 2014, employed roughly 65,971 people in 2015 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“We’re still in the doldrums in the thermal side because we’re still under many of the Obama Democrat regulations,” Murray said. “Mr. Trump has made a tremendous progress in eliminating a number of those regulations already but, there are many yet to go.”
Murray noted that there is an “energy poverty problem in this world,” and the only way developing countries, such as India can have a lightbulb, is through coal.
“They have no other way to get electricity into India other than through coal. And we must deal with this energy poverty issues. That means growth, that means export growth for American goal,” Murray said.