Bob Murray, the onetime coal baron who fought against federal safety regulations to curb black lung disease, has applied for black lung benefits with the Department of Labor. The former CEO of defunct Murray Energy once gave Trump’s leading super PAC $1 million and handed Trump a “wish list” that included ditching the Paris climate accord, which Trump later did. “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. “We’re in bankruptcy, and due to my health [I] could not handle the president and CEO job any longer.”
Murray told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that he’s entitled to benefits because he had black lung from working in underground mines for years. But he told NPR in 2019 that his lung disease was not caused by working underground. He disputed the claim he’d ever fought against black lung regulations, threatening to sue WVPB if a story was published. However, Murray Energyonce led a lawsuit against the Obama administration for a rule that would have reduced the acceptable amount of coal dust exposure in mines, which causes the fatal black lung disease.