Resource Council files complaint against Peabody Energy

(Sheridan, Wyo.) Today the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils filed a formal citizen complaint against Peabody Energy and its subsidies. The complaint alleges that ongoing surface coal mining operations violate both the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and Wyoming’s Environmental Quality Act. The complaint was also filed with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Office of Surface Mining. The councils claim that Peabody’s approximately $800 million reclamation liability for its Wyoming mines -- including the North Antelope Rochelle, Rawhide, Caballo, School Creek, and Shoshone mines -- is at stake. They argue that, given "Peabody’s precarious financial condition" and the "widespread expectation that the company will file for bankruptcy very soon", Peabody's self-bonds are no longer covered under the state program. They're requeting that the Department of Equality order Peabody to instead post bonds with third-party financial guarantees. "The Councils do not want to interfere with the continuing operations of these mines,” said council Chair Bob LeResche. “If Peabody files for bankruptcy without adequate assets to back their reclamation liability in Wyoming, state and federal taxpayers will be left with the bill, tens of thousands of acres of Wyoming could be left scarred, and a huge out-of-state corporation could dodge its clear obligations." The Department of Environmental Quality has 10 days to investigate the Resource Council's claims. After that, the office of Surface Mining can start a federal investigation. Peabody’s use of self-bonds is currently under review by state and federal regulators in all five states in which the company operates. #county17 #news #dally