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Robert Murray, President of Murray Energy, talks about rescue efforts to save 6 trapped coal miners in his mine, the Crandall Canyon Mine in Huntington, Utah August 7, 2007. Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

NEW YORK — Bob Murray, CEO of coal producer Murray Energy, likened global oil and gas companies to “prostitutes,” arguing they sell whatever it takes in global markets.

Why it matters: The eyebrow-raising comment reflects the combative nature of Murray — who is close to President Trump — in the face of coal’s increasingly weak position compared to natural gas and renewable energy in the U.S.

“They're international corporations. They sell their products around the world. And it’s expedient for them to latch onto to whatever it takes in whatever countries to sell whatever their selling. They’re prostitutes. They are latching onto policies of other countries to sell things in world markets.”
Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy

The big picture: Murray made the comments to Axios on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York Tuesday after he delivered a speech to hundreds of executives working in industries mostly benefiting from coal’s decline, such as wind, solar and natural gas.

  • “I’m probably the only coal guy in this room,” Murray said on stage, prompting muted laughter from the crowd. He said afterwards no one has approached him to talk other than the sponsors.

One level deeper: Murray named ExxonMobil, BP and Shell as companies that fit the “prostitute” mold. Unlike Murray’s company, which he privately owns, these publicly traded traded oil and gas companies are among corporations facing increasing pressure from investors to more readily acknowledge the risks climate change and carbon regulations pose to their bottom lines. BP and Shell are also investing more in renewable energy.

For the record: Spokespeople for Shell and BP declined to comment. An Exxon spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: The Washington Examiner has more on Murray's speech, where he implored the Energy Department to approve an emergency order keeping open economically struggling coal and nuclear power plants. Acknowledging that the department rejected a similar plea his company asked for last year, Murray told Axios afterwards that "the options are becoming fewer."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.