Murray Energy Corp., the private coal giant whose founder pushed the Trump administration for an overhaul of what it called "anti-coal" environmental policy, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday.
It's the fifth coal company to land in bankruptcy court this year. The industry is seeing its share of the U.S. power market reduced by cheaper options, such as natural gas, solar and wind power.
The long-anticipated bankruptcy is another sign that President Donald Trump's efforts to save the sputtering coal industry, a central promise to his 2016 campaign, have not succeeded.
It also speaks to the "significant stress on the coal industry today," said Benjamin Nelson, a coal analyst and Moody's vice president. Coal once fueled about half of all U.S. electricity; now it powers less than a quarter.
The legal maneuver also could potentially imperil the solvency of a major pension fund that covers tens of thousands of coal miners, and has renewed calls for the federal government to step in and help support the retirement payments.
"We're talking about 82,000 miners who are going to lose their pensions, and we're fighting this," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Tuesday.
St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray Energy said it reached a restructuring agreement with its creditors and will run the business with cash on hand and $350 million in new financing. Robert Murray, who has long been a Trump ally, will step down as chief executive and become chairman of the board.