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Robert Murray, the 77-year-old founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation. Photo: Andreas Hoenig/picture alliance via Getty Images

Murray Energy, the country's largest privately held coal company and third largest U.S. coal producer, announced Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Why it matters: The filing, the latest in a string of coal sector bankruptcies, underscores how power markets are moving away from coal in favor of natural gas and renewables.

Context: Coal, which once provided well over half of U.S. electricity, is at around 25% of the power mix today and it's slated to be 22% next year, per Energy Department data.

  • The industry's woes also signal how Trump administration plans to prop up coal-fired power plants have yet to come to fruition.

Where it stands: Via Bloomberg, the filing is aimed at restructuring more than $2.7 billion worth of debt, and the bankruptcy court filing shows that it has reached a "support agreement with a group of lenders that provides a new $350 million loan to keep operations going during the reorganization."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
17 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.