Consol Energy has withdrawn its motion to change Murray Energy’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to Chapter 7.
Southpointe-based Consol filed for withdrawal June 9, which U.S. bankruptcy Judge John E. Hoffman Jr. signed that day. A hearing scheduled for May 18 had been delayed.
Murray, the largest private coal operator in the U.S., initiated Chapter 11 proceedings in October 2019 in an effort to reorganize as a new company. A Chapter 7 filing would have resulted in an immediate liquidation of all assets.
St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray bought five West Virginia coal mines from Consol in 2013. Leasing arrangements coming out of that sale still exist, enabling Consol to participate in the bankruptcy proceedings.
In a fiery Zoom news conference on April 30, the United Mine Workers of America contended that a change to Chapter 7 would result in the closure of those mines.
International President Cecil Roberts bellowed: “I can’t think of a more despicable act than what (Consol Energy) did. These mines might not exist if Chapter 7 takes place, and 2,000 miners will lose their jobs and benefits at a time of a global pandemic.”
“Chapter 7 will be the death of these mines,” said Jason Todd, president of Local 9909, representing 459 workers at the Marion County Mine.
Consol issued a statement regarding its withdrawal of the motion:
“Our intentions have always been to preserve our rights and interests throughout the Murray Energy bankruptcy proceedings. Although many of the concerns raised were and remain valid, the motion itself was no longer relevant as we work toward amicable solutions for all parties involved, now and into the future.
“Our goal was never to put West Virginia coal miners at risk. To the contrary, it was to protect our own coal miners, their families, and our business in a time of great uncertainty. Now, more than ever, we need a strong, united coal industry as we work to bring jobs back and help the economy recover.”