Demanding a Just Transition for Peabody Coal Workers

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly-listed coal mining company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on April 13.  This seemingly good news for the world’s GHG emissions raises human issues, as outlined in “Why Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, just went bankrupt” in Vox    (April 13) and “How your taxes ended up enriching coal executives who are betraying their workers”   in Vox (March 18) .  DeSmog Blog reports on protests by activists (April 19) who demanded a $14 billion Just Transition Fund be established as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. DeSmog blog asks, “What would a more Just Bankruptcy look like?”, and lists: fully- fund worker pensions and health care plans;  an immediate stop to the forcible relocation and harassment of Diné (Navajo) people in northern Arizona, and full reparations for cultural genocide caused by Peabody; Guaranteed full funding for clean-up and full reclamation of all mined lands and polluted and depleted aquifers used by Peabody; payouts to communities negatively impacted by Peabody’s practices in areas left stranded in the bankruptcy, as a priority before other shareholders;  support for communities as they transition from coal-based economies toward renewable energy and self-sufficiency, including healthcare funds for communities in and adjacent to mining and coal-processing areas. Many of these issues were raised and explained in the 2012 report by Labor Network for Sustainability, Jobs Beyond Coal: A Manual for Workers, Communities and Environmentalists , which included a case study of Black Mesa and the Just Transition group.