Can coal companies afford to clean up coal country – the washington post electricity freedom system

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Under a 1977 federal law, coal companies are required to clean up mining gas 99 cents a litre sites when they’re shut down. But the industry’s plummeting fortunes have raised questions about whether companies can fulfill their obligations to rehabilitate vast strip mines in Western states — many of which are on federally owned property — as well as mountaintop-removal mining sites in the East.

A number of smaller companies have defaulted or skimped on cleanup obligations, leaving behind gas x and pregnancy abandoned strip mines and denuded mountains. Some are simply eyesores, unhealed scars on the landscape that can be seen for miles. Others are perpetual sources of water pollution, slowly leaking acidic and otherwise gas chamber toxic wastes into streams and groundwater supplies.

Now coal giants are facing outcomes similar to those experienced by some of the smaller companies. Several are struggling to make payments on debts for ill-timed multibillion-dollar acquisitions of their rivals in recent years. On top of that, they have been financially squeezed by competition from cheap natural gas and declining U.S. and Chinese demand for coal.

With mounting losses and debt loads, the companies do not have enough money to pay for all their obligations, and self-bonding gas pain is “not worth [the] paper [it’s] written on,” Steve Jakubowski, a bankruptcy lawyer with the firm Robbins, Salomon Patt, said in an email. In a bankruptcy, where Alpha Natural Resources is now, a judge can decide which creditors are paid and how much — and state and federal governments could be left holding the bag for reclamation electricity word search j farkas answers costs.

Peabody alone has cleanup obligations of nearly $1.4 billion guaranteed by self-bonding, according to statements filed by the company last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Arch Coal gas bubble in eye and Alpha — the nation’s second- and fourth-largest coal companies — have self-guaranteed liabilities exceeding $485 million and $640 million, respectively, in reclamation costs.

The coal giants are currently in no condition to spend those amounts. Arch and electricity definition science Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Peabody stock prices have fallen by more than 97 percent over the past year, and the coal behemoth’s market value at Thursday’s closing gas finder rochester ny price was less than $44.3 million. Barclays Capital said the company’s debt-to-capital ratio was a towering 88 percent.

Obama administration officials have voiced concern recently about the reliability of self-bonding agreements for some of the biggest coal operations in the Powder River Basin, an area that straddles the storing electricity in water Wyoming and Montana border and contains some of the biggest coal mines in the world. The Interior Department sent a letter last month to Wyoming regulators warning that self-bonding agreements for two of Alpha Coal’s mines had fallen “below the amount necessary to assure that the operator will faithfully comply with all rules and regulations” if the company goes out of business electricity production in india.

In Illinois, environmental groups and industry experts are closely watching three Peabody mines with cleanup obligations of $92 million covered by self-bonding. Howard A. Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, urged gas station car wash state officials in a blog post to force the troubled company to buy surety bonds to “make sure that our taxpayers aren’t holding the financial bag.” Selling surety bonds is similar to paying insurance premiums to cover the cleanup costs. But it might be too late for Peabody to find anyone interested in taking that electricity load profile risk.

Jakubowski, the bankruptcy expert, said the coal companies will have a hard time wriggling out of cleanup costs linked to mines that continue to operate, and Anthony Young, an analyst at the Macquarie Group, a global investment banking firm, said he expects that as much as 90 percent of Peabody’s mines, mostly in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, will continue to operate.

How the big coal companies got to this point is a lesson in hubris and overreach. Alpha bought rival Massey Energy for $7 billion. Arch Coal — whose top executives gas leak los angeles received $8 million in bonuses the day before filing for bankruptcy, according to a report by Environment Energy’s ClimateWire — bought International Coal for $3.4 billion. Peabody paid $5.1 billion for Macarthur Coal. And Walter Energy bought Western Coal for $3.3 billion.

The financial 76 gas station locations crisis highlights what environmental groups say are deep inadequacies in cleanup requirements for coal companies. Often, activists say, mining companies are simply given a pass after meeting the most rudimentary requirements to cover up open pits with dirt and rock. Some environmental groups are pressing for legislation requiring gas house edwards “contemporaneous reclamation” — forcing mining companies to clean up after each phase of mining rather than waiting for the entire project to be completed.