Associated Press Published

Murray Energy Idling West Virginia Mine

Coal Stock Pile

A large West Virginia underground coal mine owned by Murray Energy is halting production for nearly two weeks and possibly longer.

Murray Energy chairman and CEO Robert Murray said Wednesday that the Marion County mine would be idled until at least March 7 because of reduced demand for coal from electric utilities. The mine employs about 500 workers.

The Ohio-based company is one of the nation’s largest coal producers. Murray said regulatory enforcement from President Barack Obama’s administration and inexpensive natural gas are stifling the demand for coal. He says all of his mines in six states are running on reduced schedules, and the company’s workforce has shrunk from 8,400 in May to 5,800 this month.

Murray bought the Marion County mine along with four others from Consol Energy in 2013.