The founder and CEO of the nation’s 12th largest coal producer told Human Events in an exclusive interview that President Barack Obama’s war on coal has done permanent damage to America’s competitiveness.

“It can be stopped, but it cannot be reversed,” said Robert E. Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, a privately-held coal producer based in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Obama is planning to close 175 power plants by 2020, roughly equivalent to 83,000 megawatts, he said. Most of the plants will go off the grid by 2014.

The physical reality is that idle coal mines or coal-fired electric generating plants atrophy, he said.

“Those plants are not designed to remain idle,” he said. “The boilers and turbines are made to keep heat in them and they start deteriorating very rapidly.”

The same is also true for coal mines, he said.

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