Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Make sure all coal companies are forced to pay for cleanup efforts at their mines.
Coal mining already comes with significant environmental and public health costs. Adding insult to injury, some coal companies are failing to pay for cleanup efforts at their own mining sites. This is because of a loophole with regards to self-insured bonds. Due to agreements with the United States federal government under which these future payments are self-insured, many coal companies are making promises to finance post-mining procedures that are not insured by any third party agency. This arrangement is not sustainable. The Environmental Protection Agency needs to terminate these self-insured agreements in favor of third-party guarantees.
Companies such as Peabody Energy are taking advantage of this current system. Peabody, a corporation that recently filed for bankruptcy, currently has $1.36 million in self-insured bonds on file for their cleanup efforts. However, the company’s net worth is only $1.34 billion. This clearly means that Peabody will not be able to uphold their bonds.
With the coal energy sector reeling under the dual pressures of tougher pollution standards and green energy competition, self-insured bonds are not just keeping faltering corporations like Peabody Energy afloat. They are effectively sustaining a business model which is already crumbling in the face of environmental responsibility. Failing to ensure that coal companies actually pay for cleanup efforts at their mining sites just props up dirty coal coal despite the necessity to move away from dirty energy in all forms.
Tackling climate change will require us to stop footing the bill for environmentally irresponsible corporations. There is simply no reason why taxpayers should have to foot the bill for companies that trade in dirty energy any longer. Sign the petition below to urge EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to do away with self-insured bonds for coal companies.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
Coal companies should be required to cleanup their mining sites in all cases. The only way to ensure that this happens is to do away with self-insured bonds. This system allows corporations like Peabody Energy to make promises that they simply cannot and will not keep with regards to post-mining procedures that are required at their sites.
Propping up dirty coal in this way is environmentally irresponsible. It is also an affront to taxpayers who are forced to bail out coal companies when they cannot or choose not to follow through on their own self-insured bonds.
We cannot keep letting corporations feign their responsibility to the environment. Giving coal companies a free-pass on their cleanup efforts via self-insured bonds allows them to do just that. I urge you to do away with this system and to hold coal companies accountable with third-party insured bonds.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Stansberry