The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

October 13, 2013

Settled

Peabody finally accepts its responsibility; Congress, president should do the same

It was heartening last week to see that Peabody Energy Corp. finally stepped up and took responsibility for the mess it had created with Patriot Coal.

Patriot was spun off from Peabody in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Some, such as the United Mine Workers of America, say the Patriot spin-off was set up to fail in a deliberate plan to end Peabody’s benefit obligations to retirees.

The long, contentious court battle — and a series of demonstrations against both Peabody and Patriot by the UMWA — ensued.

An initial ruling in May by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States that Peabody was not obligated to continue the health benefits for retirees was overturned in August by an 8th U.S. District Court of Appeals bankruptcy panel.

Thursday, Peabody announced that it will pay hundreds of millions of dollars over four years to settle the legal dispute and fund retiree benefits.

It also will provide about $140 million in letters of credit to Patriot, bolstering that company’s hopes of emerging from bankruptcy.

Peabody is the world’s largest private-sector coal company. It certainly must have had the money to make an agreement such as this months ago. As heartening as it is that the company has finally stepped up to the plate, it is just as disheartening that it took this long — plus the millions spent in litigation — to take that responsibility.

In this settlement, the UMWA must surrender nearly all of its 35 percent stake in Patriot that resulted from Surratt-States’ May ruling. However, UMWA President Cecil Roberts says he is pleased by the settlement and that the union will end its protests.

It is sad when a business — or a government — breaks its covenant with the people who give their blood, sweat and hard work.

It is good that Peabody officials finally swallowed their pride and did what should have been done from the beginning.

If only the stubborn, self-serving members of Congress — as well as President Obama — would do the same and get our government workers back on the job and stop the nonsense of defaulting on the country’s debt.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Primary care

    DHHR program weans folks away from the ER

    July 24, 2014

  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014

  • Showcase

    For White Sulphur Springs, there’s hardly enough time to catch a breath.

    July 17, 2014

  • Bon appetit

    Agriculture and farm products can help diversify state economy

    July 16, 2014

  • Generous

    Outsiders can say what they will about West Virginians — but they can’t say we’re stingy.
    Time after time after time, we band together to help our neighbors out of a jam, aid someone down on their luck or otherwise in a bad way.

    July 15, 2014

  • Reminder

    Study points out old, new problems with W.Va. roads

    July 13, 2014