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Environmentalists to dispute Peabody restructuring; mine fatalities a record low

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Environmentalists to dispute Peabody restructuring; mine fatalities a record low

Environmentalists will challenge Peabody's reorganization plan over reclamation

An environmental group intends to challenge Peabody Energy Corp.'s proposed reorganization plan for failing to adequately address reclamation obligations.

"We've continued to be present and engaged in the bankruptcy proceeding," Howard Learner, an attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, told S&P Global Market Intelligence. "We will object in the bankruptcy court."

"We're disappointed that Peabody's plan fails to commit to replace its flawed self-bonding for mine reclamation with real financial commitments including surety bonds," he said in a press release.

2016 sees record-low coal mine fatalities

For the first time in more than 100 years, U.S. coal mining fatalities could remain in the single digits.

"We work to continue to drive that number toward zero," U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administrator leader Joseph Main said on a recent call. As of Dec. 22, only nine fatalities were reported this year at the nation's coal mines, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data. That is compared to 12 deaths in 2015 and 16 deaths in 2014.

"I think the change that has happened since 2010 is really a recognition across the industry, that the regulations are the baseline from which you build on and there's a need to shift from a reactive to proactive mode to be able to identify potential hazards and to the maximum extent possible, engineer those out of the workplace before they turn into any potential hazardous condition that puts miners in harm's way," said Bruce Watzman, senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the National Mining Association.

EPA fires back at new source rule litigants' 'crystal ball inquiry'

Donald Trump's election win is not a good enough reason to delay a legal review of carbon emissions performance standards for new fossil fuel power plants, according to the U.S. EPA.

The agency voiced that opinion in response to a request from those challenging the new source rule for a pause in the litigation to allow the new Trump administration time to review the rule once the president-elect takes office. But the EPA said the petitioners had plenty of time before the election to raise the subject but instead agreed to the set briefing schedule.

"Petitioners rely on the presidential transition team's statement that it will 'review … all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama administration' to conclude that the incoming administration 'is likely to consider adopting policy changes that could significantly alter the scope of this litigation,'" the EPA argued in its Dec. 21 court filing.

Two Pa. coal companies file for Chapter 11

Two small Pennsylvania coal companies filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors Dec. 22 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

C&D Coal Co. LLC, which operates the Kingston West bituminous coal mine in Westmoreland County, has estimated liabilities between $10 million and $50 million, according to the filing. Its debts include $300,000 to the IRS and nearly $15,000 to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Its assets are estimated between $10 million and $50 million.

Peabody lays out plan to emerge from bankruptcy early Q2'17

Peabody Energy Corp. moved one step closer to emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the company filed a plan of reorganization and disclosure statement with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on Dec. 22.

The proposed plan provides for a new capital structure that will significantly reduce the company's pre-filing debt levels by more than $5 billion. The plan also will recapitalize the company through a backstopped rights offering of $750 million, a private placement of mandatorily convertible preferred stock of $750 million and the issuance of new common stock to satisfy certain creditor claims.

Report: Peabody secures additional lease for 340,000 tons of coal at Colo. mine

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Dec. 21 said Peabody Energy Corp. has been given leave to lease another 340,000 tons of publicly owned coal at a northwestern Colorado mine about 20 miles southwest of Steamboat Springs, the Associated Press reported.

The agency does not expect the extraction of additional coal to cause further disturbance at the underground Foidel Creek Mine, the report said.