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Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate-Denial Funding

Peabody Energy has provided funds to a network of groups that espouse climate change denial. (Peabody Energy)
Peabody Energy has provided funds to a network of groups that espouse climate change denial. (Peabody Energy)
June 23, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Peabody Energy has financial ties to a network of individuals, nonprofits and political organizations that deny the existence of climate change, according to new documents made public in the company's bankruptcy filings.

Jamie Corey, a researcher with the Center for Media and Democracy, said the documents contradict claims made by many of the organizations listed that their work is done independent of fossil-fuel companies.

"This document is a clear sign that this very large network has actually been paid directly by the coal industry to spread this disinformation and to block efforts to tackling climate change," she said.

Peabody did not respond to a request for comment. In a Wall Street Journal report on the company's payments of at least $435,000 thousand to a Harvard law professor to lead its efforts to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan, a Peabody spokesperson told the Journal Peabody supports groups that advocate for energy access, sustainable mining and clean coal.

Corey notes Peabody paid the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, for events and "scholarship funds" that bring politicians together with lobbyists to create model legislation for states. She said ALEC has a long track record of climate-change denial.

"At one particular ALEC event, a Peabody Energy lobbyist actually told the politicians that it's seeking 'guerrilla warfare' against the EPA," she said.

Other Peabody funding recipients include the controversial scientist Willie Soon, who promotes a widely discredited position that sunspots, not carbon emissions, are driving climate change. Peabody also has financial ties to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the group behind the recently released documentary "Climate Hustle" which claims CO2 emissions are a benefit and not a threat.

The full bankruptcy filing can be viewed online here.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY