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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 19632 times)

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AGelbert

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The Big Coal Bailout of 2016   

Carl Pope | March 31, 2016 9:20 am

SNIPPET:


Finally, in February 2015, the Administration moved, proposing a “Power Plus” plan to help protect miner’s pensions, health care and the economic based on coal dependent communities. (It also moved in the same month to reform royalty abuses).

But, of course, by this time such aid required Congressional appropriations. Bankruptcy courts had already let Patriot and other companies dump their pension and health care obligations. The same Republican leaders who blasted Obama for making war on coal denounced the new plan. Leading the charge? Kentucky Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made it clear that his hostility towards the United Mines Workers trumped whatever concern he might have had for Kentucky coal miners. In December, McConnell personally blocked efforts to include community and pension rescue efforts in the budget deal Republicans cut with Obama.

Here there is a partisan difference. Democrats who are waging “War on Coal” favor keeping the promise America made to coal miners. Hilary Clinton has strongly advocated help for the workers and communities.

How do conservatives justify this stand? By calling any effort to ensure that miners get the pensions they earned yes, “a bailout.” But conservative attacks on such efforts to protect pensions simply don’t mention the shenanigans by which companies like Peabody got rid of their debts. These are actually worse than bailouts. In a bailout the calculation is that a healthy enterprise emerges. But there is no prospect in these cases that Patriot, Arch or Shortly Peabody is going to bounce back.

Quote
These are give-aways What is hard to calculate is how big and costly they are.

The UMW Pension fund, for example, protects more than 100,000 coal miners and former miners. It has $3.8 billion in assets, but must pay out about $600 million a year—so if it goes bankrupt, (ignoring the likely collateral damage to the whole U.S. pension insurance system) over a decade $6 billion could be transferred from the coal industry to the public—12 Solydras!

How much are the reclamation costs being forgiven? Well, an earlier generation of mining reclamation costs are now estimated to cost $17 billion—34 Solyndras.

And the pending defaults on self-bonded mining costs seem likely to run another $2.7 billion. So the total give-aways to coal companies as they race towards bankruptcy seems to be over $25 billion—almost 50 Solyndras.

That’s quite a bailout—the GM bailout cost taxpayers only $11.2 billion, less than half as much and the taxpayers got a healthy GM out of the deal—we get nothing from coal give-aways.

So the next time some economist earnestly lectures you on the need to avoid subsidizing clean energy, or a Republican says government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, ask them to show you where—and how loudly—they denounced the Big Coal Bailout of 2016.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/03/31/big-coal-bailout-2016/
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

 

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