Peabody Energy Investigation in Late Stages: New York Attorney General Probe

Powder River Basin coal

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

Update: Peabody Energy announced today that it has reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General's office regarding its climate change disclosures to investors on the financial risks of its business.

A probe by the New York state attorney general of Peabody Energy for allegedly not warning investors about climate change-related financial risks is close to being settled, according to sources close to the investigation.

The news accompanied the announcement on November 6th by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of his investigation of ExxonMobil, which apparently will zero in on the contradiction between the company's own scientific research confirming the hazards of global warming and its subsequent funding of climate denial to protect its profits.

Schneiderman, who had been under increasing pressure to investigate energy companies for allegedly covering up the hazards of fossil fuel use, issued an 18-page subpoena for a wide assortment of records from ExxonMobil dating back to January 1, 1977. The company must respond by December 4th.

The attorney general's office also confirmed that the probe of Peabody Energy, the country's largest coal producer, originally launched in 2007 under then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, was renewed in  2013 with fresh demands for information from the company.

A source familiar with the investigation said a settlement may be forthcoming “very soon.”

With Congress Back to Work, Republican Attacks On EPA Resume

Fresh off the August recess, the United States Congress got back to business today.  Rather than focusing on pressing issues like a potential war, looming budget deadlines, and the growing problem of student loan debt, some Republican lawmakers thought it was the perfect time to pick up where they left off before their recess – attacking the Environmental Protection Agency.

Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is enraged that the EPA is not “complying” with a subpoena that his committee issued, requiring the agency to hand over all documents and studies relating to standards issued by the EPA

According to Smith, this information is vital for the public, as the safety standards that it spurs cost the public “trillions of dollars,” he wrote in a letter to the EPA.  Smith never specifies how he came up with that figure, and research shows that regulations put in place by the EPA actually save taxpayers much more money than they cost.  Smith’s letter has given the agency until September 16th to hand over the documents.

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