Letter: Arch isn’t the kind of company we want in Montana – Billings Gazette, May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013

Categories: Coal, Letters

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/arch-isn-t-the-kind-of-company-we-want-in/article_ff93dbfd-3d43-57f0-8b8c-5465a0f20914.html

Miners from around the country traveled to Arch Coal’s shareholders meeting in Wright, Wyo., last month. Their reason? Arch joined Peabody Coal in spinning off Patriot Coal, a new company to which they transferred many of their pension obligations, and which then summarily declared bankruptcy, leaving benefits for thousands of employees and their families in doubt.

It’s not an isolated example. Last year, Arch subsidiary ICG settled a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars after several Kentucky nonprofits discovered thousands of false water-quality reports amounting to more than 20,000 violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky.

The decline of the coal market is one reason these issues have heated up. Arch Coal’s own spokeswoman even indicated that “This is a very challenging time for the U.S. coal industry, and we empathize with the many people who have been affected by the market downturn.”

Is this the kind of company we want doing business in Montana? The state should think twice before approving Arch’s proposed coal mine at Otter Creek. The potential repercussions for miners’ livelihoods, as well as the dangers to our clean air, water and natural landscape are too great of a risk to take on for a dying industry.

Nash Emrich
Billings

 

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