Increasing Worry Over ‘Hundreds of Million, if Not Billions’ in U.S. Coal Mine Cleanup Costs

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Steven Mufson and Joby Warrick for the Washington Post:A worsening financial crisis for the nation’s biggest coal companies is sparking concerns that U.S. taxpayers could be stuck with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in cleanup costs across a landscape of shuttered mines stretching from Appalachia to the northern Plains.Worries about huge liabilities associated with hundreds of polluted mine sites have mounted as Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly traded coal company, was forced to appeal to creditors for an extra 30 days to pay its debts. Two of the four other biggest U.S. coal companies have declared bankruptcy in the past six months.Under a 1977 federal law, coal companies are required to clean up mining 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 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 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.The biggest coal companies typically pay third parties to ensure that mine sites are cleaned up in the event of financial hardship. But in recent years, many coal companies have relied on a cheaper technique called “self-bonding,” pledging only their own names and financial wherewithal to guarantee their cleanup obligations.With mounting losses and debt loads, the companies do not have enough money to pay for all their obligations, and self-bonding 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 costs.“There is a lot of liability out there and a lot of uncertainty,” said Shannon Anderson, a lawyer with the Power River Basin Resource Council, a Wyoming nonprofit group that supports tougher rules for cleaning up mine sites.Full article: Can coal companies afford to clean up coal country? Increasing Worry Over ‘Hundreds of Million, if Not Billions’ in U.S. Coal Mine Cleanup Costslast_img read more

Dominica holds simulation exercise on Foot and Mouth Disease

first_img Share Sharing is caring! 34 Views   no discussions Dr. Reginald ThomasThe Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and other partners around the region conducted a simulation exercise in Dominica on Thursday.That exercise was conducted with a view to testing the islands ability to deal with an outbreak of any infectious or contagious disease at a foot and mouth disease summit.Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Reginald Thomas explained the devastation which the disease could cause worldwide.“The disease cause tremendous losses in cattle and livestock population worldwide. The Caribbean region has not had an outbreak of that disease and we are planning to prevent the entry. If it does happen, we would be ready to deal with that”.He said Dominica has brought local players on board, including the various ministries and departments of support industries.Thomas also noted that this is not to say that the disease is in close proximity to Dominica hence the public should not be alarmed.“We want farmers to know that they should not be alarmed. This is just planning. The public should know that the disease is not on the island. We are just preparing,” he added.Dominica Vibes News LocalNews Dominica holds simulation exercise on Foot and Mouth Disease by: – March 22, 2012center_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more

EPL: City target Villa’s scalp

first_imgRelatedPosts Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says Martinez completes £20m Aston Villa move Man City vs. Aston VillaVenue: Etihad StadiumKick off: 12:30PMManchester City resume Premier League action this afternoon with a game against Aston Villa at the Etihad.The Premier League champions will hope that they continue to make up ground on leaders Liverpool, who are six points ahead of them in the Premier League.Pep Guardiola’s men have responded in ideal fashion to suffering a damaging 2-0 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers prior to the international break.The Citizens claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, who are something of a bogey team, ahead of recovering from going a goal down to thrash Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.As domestic football returns to the Etihad this weekend, City players will know that slipping up at home even once more this season could have fatal consequences for their title defence.Following consecutive years during which it seemed as if nobody could touch them, the Premier League champions possess greater firepower than ever but perhaps have more question marks surrounding their capacity to hold firm at the back.Indeed, in the wake of Vincent Kompany’s departure, combined with injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, it has been demonstrated by both Norwich City and Wolves that hitting City with fast counter-attacks down the middle of the pitch can open up gaps in behind.This current impediment, along with more intangible factors like “pedigree” and “heritage”, may combine to explain why City could struggle in Europe again this season – a problem that is preventing this side from joining the pantheon of the game’s very best teams.However, when it comes to these games at home against lesser opponents, City will always back their attacking unit to substantially outscore whomever they come up against.Today’s visitors will take heart from the blueprint laid down by Wolves but must also be conscious of the fact that this City team has scored 21 goals in six home games since August.The story of Villa this season has been one of a team which has almost visibly grown into its skin since the opening weekend.Defeats to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace along with a tepid home draw with West Ham United during the club’s opening four league games were indicative of a team which, although solid at the back, looked to be missing something going forward.However, it seems as if a 3-2 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates, which saw the visitors take the lead twice and lose the game to a last minute goal, served as something of a turning point when it came to the intensity of Villa’s performances.Since that loss, Smith’s side has managed at least two goals in every game, including an impressive 5-1 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road that was hallmarked by a front three of Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi and Wesley cutting through the Canaries at will.Moreover, the Villans have been bolstered by the strong form of attacking midfielder John McGinn, with the Scot scoring three goals and claiming one assist this term, often making smart late runs to join attacks and create overloads through the middle.If Villa are to pull off one of the shocks of the season at the Etihad this weekend, the aforementioned attacking quartet must make use of any pocket of space that happens to come their way. Watford, for example, actually had an excellent chance to equalise after just five minutes at the Etihad, only to squander it and end up losing 8-0.Smith has so far refused to deviate from a rigid 4-3-3 system, whose primary aim is for the team to attack and defend as one unit, and will need his players to function as one perfectly unified entity if they are to succeed at keeping this City team at arm’s length.Then again, as every team knows, even being perfect against such a litany of superstars can sometimes not be quite enough. Manchester City possible XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Bernardo, Sterling, Jesus.Aston Villa possible XI: Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Hourihane, McGinn, El Ghazi, Grealish, Wesley.Tags: Aston VillaEPLManchester Citylast_img read more