peabody coal

Thu, 2014-04-10 12:52Ben Jervey
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Campus Discontent: Washington University Students Sit-In Against Peabody, Harvard Faculty Call for Divestment

It's a busy week in the campus fossil fuel divestment movement. 

A “sit in” by students at the Washington University of St. Louis enters its third day today. The protestors have camped out underneath their campus's Brookings Archway since Tuesday, demanding that the school cut ties with Peabody Energy — the world's largest private coal company — and its CEO Greg Boyce. 

Boyce was named to WU's Board of Trustees in 2009. One year earlier, Peabody gave the university millions of dollars to help create the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization. (Along with Arch Coal, who also kicked in, the investment was roughly $5 million.) 

According to Caroline Burney, a senior at Washington University, the sit-in only became necessary after many other attempts for dialogue with the school's administration were exhausted. Burney writes: 

Peabody Energy CEO Greg Boyce also holds one more distinction: member of the Washington University Board of Trustees. Since Boyce was placed on the board in 2009, students have been actively organizing against Peabody Energy’s presence on campus. We have demanded that Boyce be removed from the Board of Trustees and that the University change the name of the “Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization,” a research entity to which Peabody and Arch Coal donated $5,000,000. We have met with the Chancellor – multiple times. We have dropped banners at coal events, peacefully disrupted speeches by Greg Boyce on campus, marched through campus and taken our demands to Peabody’s headquarters. We have protested with residents from Black Mesa, collected signatures for the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative and rallied with the United Mine Workers in their fight against Peabody.

But, five years later, Boyce is still on the board, the name of the Clean Coal Consortium remains unchanged, and Chancellor Wrighton continues to stand behind Peabody Energy. Indeed, just this week he emailed us saying, “your opinion that peabody energy behaves in an ‘irresponsible and unjust manner’ is not one that I share.” The Administration has successfully used a “deny by delay” process by holding town hall meetings and developing task forces around renewable energy and energy efficiency while ignoring the role that coal plays on the campus.

Thu, 2014-02-13 10:56Ben Jervey
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St. Louis Judge Cites Citizens United to Protect Tax Breaks for Peabody Energy

With the quick stroke of a pen, a circuit court judge in St. Louis has singlehandedly silenced more than 22,000 city residents, who had sought to bring a ballot initiative to end tax breaks to fossil fuel companies to a citywide vote in April.

Last summer, volunteers with the Take Back St. Louis coalition gathered over 22,000 signatures to put onto the ballot a measure that would amend the city’s charter to include a “Sustainable Energy Policy” and end taxpayer-funded support of fossil fuel companies.

According to Take Back St. Louis, the “proposed charter amendment would end public financial incentives, such as tax abatements, to fossil fuel mining companies and those doing $1 million of business with them per year, and requires the city to create a sustainable energy plan for renewable energy and sustainability initiatives on city-owned vacant land.”

On Tuesday, Judge Robert Dierker sided with Peabody Energy (in a decision you can read here) to grant a temporary restraining order that would, in essence, keep the initiative off the April 8th ballot.

First declaring the initiative “facially unconstitutional,” Judge Dierker proceeded to cite the Citizens United decision in explaining why the policy would represent a “patent denial of equal protection” to fossil fuel energy companies.  Specifically, Judge Dierker wrote:

business entities (which, after all, are a species of associations of citizens coming together in the exercise of economic freedom) are entitled to constitutional protection as citizens and may not arbitrarily be denied basic legal rights. See Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm., 558 U.S. 310 (2010).

The proposed initiative and judge’s decision have implications far beyond the city of St. Louis. Peabody Energy, the largest privately-owned coal mining company in the world, is headquartered in St. Louis, and received tax breaks of over $61 million from the city in 2010. The Take Back St. Louis coalition was hoping to target future giveaways, arguing that the public funds would be much better spent on underfunded local services like schools.

Fri, 2013-01-18 14:52Laurel Whitney
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Thousands of Miners' Benefits In Jeopardy As Patriot Coal Claims Bankruptcy

On January 29, Patriot Coal Co. will begin Chapter 11 bankruptcy hearings in St. Louis, MO claiming that it's become a “victim of the markets” and can no longer pay its debts. These “debts” include millions of dollars of retiree health benefits. If the company goes under, the benefits may go along with it.

That's why the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) is suing. Filed back in October, the lawsuit cites the Employee Retirement and Income Securities Act, which states that coal companies must provide health insurance for retired miners.

However, the UMWA isn't suing Patriot Coal.

Most of the 10,000 workers in the class action lawsuit have never actually worked for Patriot. They actually put in their time (many with upwards of 30 years of service) with Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. The UMWA contends that Peabody and Arch sold off the benefits to a company that was doomed to fail, therefore getting rid of the debt and leaving thousands without health insurance.

Wed, 2009-08-19 16:21Jim Hoggan
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Congress Should Expose or Outlaw Astroturfers

The venerable New York Times has reported the discovery of “More Fake Letters To Congress” by Bonner & Associates, the Astroturf specialists hired by Americans for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE) to interfere with the vote on the Waxman-Markey bill.

As much as Bonner has tried to deny its involvement, the agency was clearly the source of forged letters, purporting to come from charitable organizations opposed to the climate bill. But then, Bonner’s record is well-recorded.

As William Greider described in his book, Who Will Tell the People, Bonner has operated a “boiler room” that featured “300 phone lines and a sophisticated computer system, resembling the phone banks employed in election campaigns. Articulate young people sit in little booths every day, dialing around America on a variety of public issues, searching for ‘white hat’ citizens who can be persuaded to endorse the political objectives of Mobil Oil, Dow Chemical, Citicorp, Ohio Bell, Miller Brewing, US Tobacco, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and dozens of other clients.”

Fri, 2009-03-27 10:43Kevin Grandia
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The Nation’s Must-Read Article “The Dirt on Clean Coal”

Ari Berman’s must-read article “The Dirt on Clean Coal” upholds The Nation’s proud reputation for investigative reporting which separates it from most mainstream outlets, posing relevant questions and actually attempting to find answers to them.

Berman asks the critical, overlooked question of the day, “Can the same people who told us that global warming didn’t exist–or that it was a good thing–suddenly be trusted to help solve the climate crisis?”

As you might guess, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Berman details how the coal industry - through its $40 million Astroturf campaign by the front group “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity” - is working feverishly to fight Congressional efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, hoping to ensure that the world’s coal supplies – and the climate – continue to burn for decades to come.

Wed, 2008-06-25 20:45Page van der Linden
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Choice Words for James Hansen From Big Coal Exec

Andy Revkin's New York Times Dot Earth has published a letter from Vic Svec, Senior Vice President for Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, reacting to the statement made earlier this week by NASA's Dr. James Hansen that top executives of coal and oil companies should be tried for “crimes against humanity and nature.”
Tue, 2008-06-24 08:10Mitchell Anderson
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Oil Execs to the Big House Over Climate Change?

Should oil executives be prosecuted for high crimes against humanity? Top NASA scientist Jim Hansen thinks so.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Hansen said

“When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organizations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime.”


Clearly many the scientific community have finally had it with being nice with the oil lobby…

 

Tue, 2008-06-24 06:12Ross Gelbspan
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Hansen: Exxon, Peabody are committing "crimes against humanity"

CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. 

Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on a runaway climate to our children. Humanity would be impoverished by ravages of continually shifting shorelines and intensification of regional climate extremes.

Loss of countless species would leave a more desolate planet.

Thu, 2008-02-07 10:13Kevin Grandia
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Kansas King Coal Funding Details Exposed

DeSmogBlog has just received the 2007 statement of political expenditures for a recently formed astroturf group calling themselves “Kansans for Affordable Energy” (KAE).

The document is attached to the end of this post.

Fri, 2007-11-30 13:47Kevin Grandia
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Kansas Lawmaker Claims Coal Plants Are Good For Crops

Desperate times, call for desperate arguments.

In a last ditch bid to build two new coal plants in Kansas, Larry Powell (R- Garden City) is making the argument that the new coal plants would be in fact good for local crops.

To prove his point, Powell points to a report written by longtime climate cranks Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change.

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