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Peabody's Corporate Socialist Agenda

Recently a designer socialism seems to have taken root among corporations in this country. It is, for the lack of a better word, corporate socialism; its espoused philosophy appears to be any profit is mine but my debt is yours. Pure socialism is a political and economic theory promoted by Karl Marx and is a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism. In practice, corporate socialism is a system that privatizes profits and socializes costs, producing some bizarre form of capitalistic communism, accompanied by a chilling effect on our Free-market system.

In addition to handing U.S. taxpayers their unwanted liabilities and legacy obligations, by spinning off a company called Patriot and front loading it with them, Peabody is double-dipping at the corporate socialism trough by recently leasing the South Porcupine tract of the Wyoming Powder River Basin from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Peabody’s initial offer of just $0.90 per ton was rejected as too low by the BLM—so they simply held another auction a few weeks later and accepted Peabody’s offer of $1.11 per ton. In both “auctions” Peabody was the only bidder. It has been some time since I have seen any figures on the fair market value for the royalty rate per ton for leased coal; it has to be $3.00 to $5.00 per ton and that may be low. When it was originally leased in 1992, North Antelope Rochelle coal was leased by BLM to Peabody for just 21 cents a ton. BLM’s methods dramatically undervalue the coal, so much so that it has amounted to a $28.9 billion subsidy over the past 30 years. The Porcupine tract of coal is estimated to contain 721 million tons of coal, which is enough to fill 6.5 million train cars, and is slated to be exported to Asia. The combination of a cheap government lease with a 76' coal seam covered by a Overburden thickness of 346.0', making recovery cost per/ton minimal and some Asian customers pay for shipping gives Peabody Energy something akin to a magic money machine.

In May 1971, I received a letter from then-President Richard M. Nixon. As I recall, the official notice read, "Greetings from your friends and neighbors, you have been selected to serve in America's fighting forces...".
When I got to the place that the letter took me I did not see the likes of future CEOs, Wall Street Bankers, or K Street lobbyists. I can remember a general inspection where I was told if the general asks you why you are here, tell him it is to block Communist aggression. I still defended Peabody's right to make as much money as they possibly could but not to engage in Communist aggression making them the antithesis of Patriot.

As an American veteran, I can no longer defend Peabody Energy’s right to make money; as an American taxpayer, I can no longer afford to subsidize their ability to make profit; and as a UMWA retiree, I feel sold out by Peabody. At the very least there needs to be a federal investigation into Peabody and these BLM leasing practices.

Larry Miller

UMWA Retiree LU 1793

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