Good Money from Not-So-Good Benefactors: Part I
On Friday West Virginia University announced a $1 million gift for energy research from Robert and Brenda Murray. The gift will be matched by $1 million from the Legislature’s $50 million Research Trust Fund. According to WVU’s press release, the funds will be used for a good purpose: “research on safer, more efficient and cost effective ways to use fossil fuels.”
Bob Murray is the President of Murray Energy Corporation. Murray Energy owns Utah’s Crandall Canyon mine, where nine people lost their lives in August 2007. You may remember that Mr. Murray initially came across as a sympathetic character in media broadcasts, but opinions changed as the investigation unfolded and it became clear that the accident was the result of serious safety violations and $1.6 million in fines were imposed against the mine operator.
As you would expect, WVU accepted the money and said nothing about Mr. Murray’s controversial past. I think they did the right thing.