Murray Energy seeks to layoff thousands in 6 states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Giant coal producer Murray Energy has issued notices that it could lay off up to 4,400 coal mine workers in six states come September.

A news release from the St. Clairsville, Ohio, company says it issued the notices for its operations in Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, Utah and Pennsylvania.

The release blamed the possible job losses on President Barack Obama’s environmental policies regarding coal. The company also laid blame on increased use of low-price natural gas for electricity.

Murray and other coal operators are involved in contract negotiations with the United Mine Workers of America. Earlier this week the union’s members rejected a proposed contract.

Murray said earlier this year that all his mines are running on reduced schedules because of the slumping market.

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