When it comes to Peabody Energy Corp., it's hard to tell who's being naughty or nice.
This week, the activist group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment has been staging demonstrations against Peabody, the largest private-sector coal company in the world, headquartered in downtown St. Louis.
Their first act of defiance against the energy giant was this banner off of the Kingshighway exit of I-64/40:
The banner drop on Tuesday kicked off MORE's "Post-Peabody St. Louis" week of action, a series of events that call attention to the environmental impact of the coal industry, St. Louis' increasingly high asthma rates, and a recent lawsuit that pits Peabody against retired miners who are claiming they were denied their due health coverage.
"Peabody is trying to become what Monsanto is," Klagsbrun says. "They're making huge contributions around town -- buying the opera house, funding these research institutes at Wash. U.. All of that is great, very nice, but it's for PR, and it's for their own preservation in this community."
But Meg Gallagher, a Peabody Energy spokesperson, says the group's accusations are unfair and unfounded.
"We believe it's offensive for any activist group to deface property or suggest that major local institutions are beholden to the thousands of individuals and businesses donating to them," Gallagher says.