Murray Energy Corp.'s bankruptcy threatens to quiet the loudest and most litigious critic of environmental regulations in the coal industry.
Under the proposed restructuring plan, the company's founder, Bob Murray, will step down as president and CEO.
Murray will remain chairman of the board, and his nephew, Robert Moore, is taking over as chief executive of the country's largest privately held coal mining firm.
Bankruptcy has put Murray Energy at the mercy of its creditors. And the new power dynamic jeopardizes the company's search-and-destroy approach to environmental policy.
"He had a comprehensive approach to legal challenges to EPA rules," said Janet McCabe, who led the agency's air office in 2015 under Obama.
"Not just the ones that would have directly impacted the coal industry — like the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Clean Power Plan — but ones that addressed clean air more generally, presumably in fear that those rules would lead to further controls on coal-fired power plants."