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By JOHN RABY, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A major U.S. coal mining company has emerged from federal bankruptcy protection under a new name and ownership group.

Murray Energy Holdings said its Chapter 11 plan was approved last month in U.S. bankruptcy court in Ohio and became effective Wednesday.

The company said in a statement that it has completed the sale of its assets to an entity formed by former creditors.

The new company, St. Clairsville, Ohio-based American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc., is the largest privately owned U.S. coal operator with active mines in Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Utah, the statement said.

ACNR also has separate management services agreements to operate Foresight Energy mines in Illinois and Murray Energy subsidiary Murray Metallurgical mines.

The new company plans to produce about 35 million tons of bituminous coal annually. In 2018, Murray Energy produced 46.4 million tons and was the country’s fourth largest coal producer, accounting for 6% of total production, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The restructuring eliminated more than $8 billion of Murray’s debt and legacy liabilities, and it allowed the new company to access new financing, providing ACNR with enhanced financial flexibility, the company statement said.

When the bankruptcy filing was announced in October 2019, Robert D. Moore was named president and CEO of Murray Energy, replacing Robert Murray. Moore also heads the new company, which has more than 4,000 employees.

“Throughout these complex proceedings, we have been challenged with a global pandemic, extremely volatile coal markets, and months of uncertainty, Moore said. “Our employees and business partners met these challenges, and, together, moved the company forward to today’s emergence.”

When it filed for bankruptcy last year, Murray Energy joined a growing list of struggling coal producers as utilities switch away from coal to cheaper and less-polluting renewable energy or natural gas. Other major producers to seek bankruptcy protection last year included Blackjewel Mining in West Virginia and Cloud Peak Energy in Wyoming.

Robert Murray had pushed for and received a flurry of regulatory breaks from the Trump administration. The bankruptcy filing marked a significant political failure for President Donald Trump, who had sought to end what he called a “war on coal” by Democrats as a key part of his campaign and early presidency.

ACNR has hired members of the United Mine Workers union who formerly worked at Murray Energy, the union said in a statement. Union members ratified an agreement with ACNR in May.

“There is much to be concerned about for those of us associated with and working in the coal industry during these troubling times, but it is good that this process has finally been completed and our members can put the uncertainty of the bankruptcy behind them,” UMW President Cecil Roberts said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User error: Murrays INTs hurt in Cardinals first loss

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kyler Murray’s magic legs returned on Sunday with another highlight-reel touchdown run. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, his inconsistent arm made an appearance, too.

Murray made a lot of big plays for the Cardinals for a third straight week, finishing with 270 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a spectacular 1-yard touchdown run. But his three interceptions were a crucial reason they’re are no longer undefeated.

“We had every opportunity to win that game and just let it slip away,” Murray said after Arizona’s 26-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. “Like I said, if I didn’t do what I did, we win the game.”

The erratic performance threw some cold water on the notion that the Cardinals are contenders in the loaded NFC West. The No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft has flashed the potential to be a top-tier NFL quarterback, but days like Sunday are a reminder he’s still 23 years old.

Arizona is trending in the right direction, but there are going to be setbacks.

“When you believe you should have won a game and you didn’t do the necessary things to win the game, that’s going to be frustrating,” Murray said.

Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins and rookie Jeff Okudah had Detroit’s interceptions. Murray said Okudah’s pick in the middle of the third quarter was particularly irritating since he threw it behind DeAndre Hopkins.

“User error,” Murray said. “That’s an easy completion every day of the week.”

It was an impressive defensive performance for the Lions, which gave up 42 points the week before in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. Although Murray had the 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter — juking past Okudah in the process — he finished with just five carries for 29 yards.

“Probably should keep the philosophy to ourselves,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “But the guys did a good job.”

The Cardinals ran just eight plays during the fourth quarter for a total of 29 yards and scored zero points.

Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said the turnover margin made it difficult to overcome. The Cardinals’ defense didn’t force any Detroit turnovers. Murray now has four touchdown passes and five interceptions through three games.

“We just can’t turn the ball over like that three times against a good team and expect to win the game,” Kingsbury said. “I think the percentage of that — winning a game and you have three turnovers and they have zero — is like five percent.”

Kingsbury and players had warned that a day like Sunday might be coming, even though the Cardinals started 2-0 for the first time since 2015. Arizona had rampant problems, including stagnant drives and ill-timed penalties, in its two wins.

They couldn’t overcome those mistakes for a third straight week. Cardinals defensive lineman Corey Peters said there was plenty of blame to go around. He was disappointed that the Lions started their final drive on their own 9-yard line, but were able to move down the field in less than five minutes for the game-winning field goal.

“The previous two weeks we have been inconsistent at times but we found a win,” Peters said. “Sometimes winning can be a Band-Aid over things that we do wrong.

“In this league you get what you earn and today we earned a loss.”


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