Thursday, October 01, 2020

Former coal baron Bob Murray, who fought against black-lung regulations, has filed for black-lung benefits

"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," Brittany Patterson and Dave Mistich report for Ohio Valley ReSource

In his claim, which is still in the early stages of evaluation, the 80-year-old former coal baron said he heavily depends on an oxygen tank and that he is "near death." He qualifies for black-lung benefits, he wrote, because he worked in an underground mine for 16 of the 63 years he has worked in the industry, and after that went underground "every week until I was age 75," Patterson and Mistich report. But in a 2019 interview with NPR, he said he had a lung disease that was not caused by working in underground mines.

"Reached by phone, Murray declined an on-the-record interview for this story," Patterson and Mistich report. "He disputed that he ever fought against regulations to quell the disease or fought miners from receiving benefits. Murray also threatened to file a lawsuit if a story was published that indicated he had fought federal regulations and benefits."

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