Murray Energy CEO on What's Smothering the Coal Industry

Another coal business has fallen victim to increased regulations on the industry.

On Wednesday, Peabody Energy, one of the largest U.S. coal producers, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following a similar recent trend.

Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, said this development is a prime example of what has been happening to the coal industry as of late.

“The bankruptcy of Peabody Energy puts 70% of the United States coal industry into financial default,” Murray told Neil Cavuto. “Five years ago our industry was worth $69 billion. As of today it’s $4.8 billion. We’ve lost 94% of our market capitalization in five years.”

Murray, whose company produces about 65 million tons of high-quality bituminous coal every year, according to its website, blamed the industry’s struggles on two factors.

“The largest reason for the decline of the United States coal industry is the Obama Administration and the Democrat Party and the Democrats in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “There is no question, however, that the increased use of natural gas through fracking and the use of gas from shales has taken away much of our market. So it’s a combination of both the overregulation from the Obama Administration and the increased use of natural gas.”

The coal company executive also issued a warning.

“What is happening that should be of alarm to all Americans is that reliable, low-cost electricity in America is being destroyed… People on fixed incomes are not going to be able to pay their electric bills,” he said.

Murray commented on the 2016 presidential race and which candidate he sees as the best choice for U.S. coal companies and the energy industry overall.

“By far the strongest presidential candidate who has shown concern about low-cost electricity for people on fixed incomes or people who manufacture a product for the global marketplace is Ted Cruz,” he said. “Donald Trump may be favorable to our problem, but so far Ted Cruz has articulated his position better… He gets it, he understands it… Not to say that Donald Trump might not be there, but he has not articulated it nearly as well as Ted Cruz.”