Murray Energy Corp. (MEC) announced more than 1,800 hourly and salaried job cuts from its operations in West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois and a complete idle of one longwall mine. It cited increased natural gas use for its decision, along with “the ongoing destruction of the U.S. coal industry by President Barack Obama.” Excessive coal severance taxes in West Virginia also played a role in the respective mine cuts in that state, the company noted.

The biggest loss of the entire group of MEC job cuts will be at the Monongalia County mine, formerly known as Blacksville, which will be idled indefinitely. Notices have been sent to the mine’s 589 employees of the plan, which goes into effect July 21. Also in West Virginia, the company has eliminated 359 positions at the Marshall County mine, formerly known as McElroy; 794 jobs will remain. An additional 470 positions have been eliminated at the other West Virginia operations.

MEC will reduce payroll by 249 in Ohio, 108 positions at the Century mine and 141 jobs at Ohio Valley (Powhatan No. 6). The No. 6 cuts are in addition to those announced earlier this year. The company will cut 162 positions at the American Coal Co. in Illinois.

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