Prove your humanity

This story comes from our partners at Ohio Valley ReSource, a regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Reporting by Brittany Patterson and Dave Mistich

UPDATE: Coal titan Bob Murray died at his home on Sunday, October 25th. He was 80. 

Robert E. Murray, the former CEO and president of the now-bankrupt Murray Energy, has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Labor for black lung benefits. For years, Murray and his company fought against federal mine safety regulations aimed at reducing the debilitating disease.

“I founded the company and created 8,000 jobs there until the move to end coal use. I am still chairman of the board,” he wrote on a Labor Department form that initiated his claim obtained by the Ohio Valley ReSource. “We’re in bankruptcy, and due to my health could not handle the president and CEO job any longer.”

According to sources, Murray’s claim is still in the initial stages and is being evaluated to determine the party potentially responsible for paying out the associated benefits. The Labor Department is required to determine a liable party before an initial ruling can be made on entitlement to benefits. If Murray’s claim were to go before an administrative law judge, some aspects of the claim would become a matter of public record

The Ohio Valley ReSource confirmed the authenticity of Murray’s claim documents by inputting associated information — including his last name, birthdate and a case ID number — into an online portal maintained by the Labor Department. 

In his claim, Murray, who is now 80 years old, writes that he is heavily dependent on the oxygen tank he is frequently seen using, and is “near death.”

READ THE FULL STORY at Ohio Valley ReSource including the history of Murray Energy fighting safety rules and its 2019 bankruptcy

LISTEN to the story


Read more of our coverage of a resurgence of Black Lung Disease in Appalachia

Living With Black Lung: Coal Miners Caught in the Epidemic