Coal Tattoo

WVU creates Bob Murray chair in mining department

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West Virginia University has announced that, in exchange for a $1 million donation for energy research, it has created a chair of mining engineering named after controversial coal executive Robert E. Murray.

Gene Cilento, dean of the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, said:

Bob Murray is a longtime friend and supporter of West Virginia University and of our College. This gift will enable our students and faculty to conduct the kind of groundbreaking research our nation needs to maximize our energy resources.

The WVU news release described Murray this way:

Murray is president of Murray Energy Corp., the largest privately owned coal mining company in the United States. A fourth-generation miner, Murray began supporting his family at the age of 16 after his father’s paralysis from a mining accident. He worked for the North American Coal Corp. for 31 years before establishing Murray Energy.

Oddly, there was no mention of the August 2007 Crandall Canyon disaster, which killed six miners and three rescue workers at one of Murray’s Utah deep mines. MSHA fined Murray’s company $1.34 million for mine safety violations it said led directly to the deaths.