Peabody Energy

Wed, 2012-05-30 10:16Chris Mooney
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The Big Waffle? New Report Exposes Corporations That Try to Split the Difference on Global Warming

We hear a lot about the Koch brothers. And before them, we heard a lot about ExxonMobil.

In other words, we all know the names of the corporations, and the corporate leaders, who have sought to undermine public understanding about global warming—for instance, by supporting think tanks that misrepresent the science and, in some cases, literally launch attacks against top scientists.

But you don’t hear as much about the companies that kinda waffle on the issue. That maybe give a little money to conservative think tanks, but also support lots of environmental groups. That donate to politicians on both sides of the climate battle, and sometimes take apparently contradictory stances on the issue: either on the science, or on what we ought to do about it.

A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, though, appears to catch some of them in the act.

The UCS sought to analyze the influence of corporate America on the debate over climate science and climate policy. So it sampled a large group of S&P 500 companies that involved themselves in two major climate policy events of the past few years: Either they commented on the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions (pro or con), or they donated to the 2010 battle over Proposition 23 in California (either for or against the ballot proposition).

This yielded a sample of 28 S&P companies, including many expected names—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Valero—but also some surprises (Nike). Then, UCS drilled down further by examining a host of other actions bearing on climate change that these companies have taken.

Tue, 2012-04-24 15:52Steve Horn
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ALEC Launches Assault on Renewable Energy Industry

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as covered previously by DeSmogBlog, is the “Trojan Horse” behind mandating that climate change denial (“skepticism,” or “balance,” in its words) be taught in K-12 classrooms.

Well, ALEC is at it again, it appears. Facing an IRS complaint filed by Common Cause, one of the leading advocacy groups working to expose the corporate-funded bill mill, ALEC has also launched an assault on renewable energy legislation, according to a well-documented report written by Bloomberg News.

The two developments are worth unpacking.

Common Cause IRS Complaint

The Washington Post reported that on April 23, Common Cause “had filed an IRS complaint accusing ALEC of masquerading as a public charity…while doing widespread lobbying.” 

ALEC is trying to brush aside this complaint, but Common Cause presents a compelling case.

It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, in a statement. “ALEC is not entitled to abuse its charitable tax status to lobby for private corporate interests, and stick the bill to the American taxpayer.”

Common Cause wants the IRS to complete a no-holds-barred audit of ALEC’s work and to examine whether it violated IRS laws. 

Fri, 2011-05-13 10:12Laurel Whitney
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BREAKING: Peabody Energy Threatens To Sue Yes Men For Exclusivity

See updates below the fold!
Earlier this week, Peabody Energy was the target of a genius parody website, Coal Cares™, offering free novelty inhalers to families living within 200 miles of a coal plant along with coupons for $10 off asthma medication in lieu of spending money on pollution-reducing technology at their own coal plants. The spoof site was put together by a group called Coal is Killing Kids through the Yes Lab, a spin-off of the Yes Men.

But then, Peabody decided it wasn’t fair that they were getting all the spotlight, and had their lawyers whip up a quick legal threat. But it wasn’t the expected cease and desist letter to take down the website. Rather, Peabody complained that they were unfairly targeted because while they are the largest coal company, they aren’t the only coal company causing asthma attacks in children. 

Wed, 2011-05-11 16:07Laurel Whitney
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New Coal Cares™ Campaign Targeting Link Between Coal And Asthma Leaves Viewers Breathless

Peabody Energy seemed to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day yesterday as they started to receive curious phone calls from consumers asking just how many Justin Beiber inhalers they were planning on giving away, and how courageous it was that a coal company was stepping up to acknowledge the role that pollution from their coal plants makes people sick, especially kids with asthma. Alas, the PR team at Peabody was quite confused on both accounts.

Around 9:00 am eastern time, a new “market-friendly public health initiative” hit journalists’ email inboxes announcing the launch of Coal Cares™, a campaign from Peabody Energy that would give away free novelty-themed inhaler actuators and also generously offer a $10-off coupon for the actual asthma medication, but only if you lived within 200 miles of a coal plant (news flash, you probably do).

Tue, 2011-02-01 18:21TJ Scolnick
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Senator Rockefeller Takes A Turn At Subverting EPA Authority To Use The Clean Air Act

Advocates of congressional action on global warming had a “case of the Mondays” this week. Not to be outdone by his Republican colleaguesSenator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced his own legislation to freeze federal efforts to curb carbon emissions.

If enacted, bill S.231 will not be as disastrous as Senator John Barrasso’s (R-WY) Defending Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, but it will nonetheless prevent (or suspend) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions from stationary sources like power plants and refineries, for two years.

While Rockefeller has described the perils of global warming pollution: “Greenhouse gas emissions are not healthy for our Earth or for her people, and we must take serious action to reduce them,” he has also led the charge amongst centrist and dirty energy funded Democrats to prevent the EPA from using clean air laws to protect public health and the environment from global warming pollution. Indeed, for his efforts, Rolling Stone named him no.9 on its list of 12 politicians and executives blocking progress on climate action.

Since 1999, he has received some $368,850 from coal and oil interests, and during the 2005-2010 period $130,300 from the Mining industry and $107,550 from Electric Utilities He has also received close to $40,000 from Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly held coal company, and whose CEO Gregory Boyce ranked no.4 on the Rolling Stone list.

Tue, 2009-05-05 12:51Kevin Grandia
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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Takes Heat From Own Membership On Climate Legislation Stance

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is facing intense criticism from some of its most prominent member companies over its staunch advocacy against current Congressional efforts to solve global warming.  The Chamber has chosen to represent the extreme views of a small minority of its directors from dirty fuels industries, against the wishes of its constituents who have called for federal action on climate change and member companies who have yet to take a position on the issue.

Politico reports that Johnson & Johnson has asked the Chamber to refrain from making comments on climate change unless they “reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action.”

Mon, 2009-02-09 16:46Kevin Grandia
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Political trickery keeping Kansas coal plans alive

If you thought the application to expand a coal-fired electricity plant in Kansas was dead, think again.

Big Coal and their political allies in the Kansas State legislature have introduced a slick new Bill that if passed will make it very difficult for the massive Sunflower Electric coal plant expansion to not go ahead.

Regular readers might recall our extensive coverage of the Kansas coal fight that started in late 2007 after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant.

The Department of Health stated that greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.

The coal company who lost the bid, Sunflower Electric and their political allies in the Kansas Legislature fought like heck to overturn the ruling. Even coal giant Peabody Energy got into the mix, dropping some big bucks on a fake grassroots organization calling itself “Kansans for Affordable Energy.”

Fri, 2009-01-16 12:54Kevin Grandia
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Leaked Clean Coal Strategy Memo to Peabody Energy

A 2004 memo from Steve Miller, CEO of a coal industry lobby group to the CEO of Peabody Energy, details the public relations and lobbying strategies being used to deal with issues ranging from climate change to Mercury.

When it rains it pours.

Earlier today we told you about a newsletter written by a Virginia-based public relations firm called the Hawthorn Group that sent out a newsletter to their “friends and family” outlining the work they did on behalf of a coal industry lobby group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Now we’ve came across a 2004 memo to coal giant Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) from Steve Miller, then President of the Center for Energy and Economic Development (now called American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity) to Irl F. Engelhardt, the CEO of one of the largest coal companies in the world, Peabody Energy.

The memo provides a lot of insight into the strategies and tactics that the coal lobby was using at the time to spin everything from Mercury to climate change to the McCain-Lieberman bill.

Below are some of the choice quotes, if you want to download the entire document in PDF go here: Coal Industry Strategy Letter to CEO of Peabody Energy.

Wed, 2008-12-03 16:12Mitchell Anderson
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Western Climate Initiative Under Attack

A powerful industry lobby group called the the “Western Business Roundtable” is scheming to derail the Western Climate Initiative

You have to start somewhere. That was the attitude of a number of progressive US states and Canadian provinces when they formed the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), an effort to begin tackling carbon emissions in the face of endless inaction from their national governments.

The WCI aims to lay the foundation for a continental cap and trade system to limit greenhouse gases 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The coalition currently has 11 member states and provinces representing 20% of the US, and 70% of the Canadian economies. They recently released their detailed recommendations for a regional cap and trade system that will be voted on for ratification by the member states and provinces.

Wed, 2008-02-27 08:31Ross Gelbspan
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Alaskans Sue Oil, Coal Firms for "Conspiracy" to Hide Truth About Warming

Lawyers for the Alaska Native coastal village of Kivalina, which is being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by the changing Arctic climate, filed suit in federal court arguing that 5 oil companies, 14 electric utilities and the country’s largest coal company were responsible for the village’s woes.

The suit is the latest effort to hold companies like BP America, Chevron, Peabody Energy, Duke Energy and the Southern Company responsible for the impact of global warming…In an unusual move, those five companies and three other defendants — the Exxon Mobil Corporation, American Electric Power and the Conoco Phillips Company — are also accused of conspiracy.

“There has been a long campaign by power, coal and oil companies to mislead the public about the science of global warming,” the suit says

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