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Friday, October 26, 2012

Anti-Coal Activists Want City to Wake Up to "Peabody Takeover"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 8:30 AM

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The Peabody Energy Corp. building on Market and Eighth streets.
  • The Peabody Energy Corp. building on Market and Eighth streets.

MORE has been calling foul on Peabody's relationship with local institutions over the last few years. In a release from the group, MORE member and Wash. U. student Dan Cohn says he believes Peabody is trying to "stamp its brand name on our city" to distract from larger criticisms of the industry.

Peabody's third-quarter earnings surpassed analysts' expectations this week at a $42 million net profit (down from $247 million in Q3 last year).

According to Gallagher, Peabody gave more than $5 million in philanthropic contributions to non-profits in and around St. Louis last year. She says those contributions were made "with no strings attached."

This week, students at Washington University with an axe to grind against coal called on their administrators to change the name of an on-campus research institute called "The Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization". The institute is funded by Peabody, and many activists say "clean coal" is a PR misnomer that masks the environmental hazards of coal production.

Klagsbrun, who organized against the coal industry as an undergrad at Wash. U., says MORE is also up in arms about the St. Louis Development Corporation's proposal to give Peabody $500,000 for "office renovations" in its Market Street building.

Amid the fray this week, Peabody was sued by employees from its subsidiary Patriot Coal, who claim their "shell company" was only created to short retired mine workers and their families the medical benefits they were owed. The class-action suit was filed in West Virginia. Click onto the next page for a press release from the miners' union that is suing.

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