Home

Exposed: West Virginia and Other States Relying on ‘House of Cards’ to Pay for Coal Mine Cleanup

Leave a comment

SOURCE:  desmogblog.com

“the amount of money companies are mandated to pay into these funds has been vastly under-calculated, and these bond pools are also facing insolvency.”

By Mark Olalde

For more than a century-and-a-half, the forests, streams, and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains have been scraped and gashed to unearth their heart of rich black coal. These lumps of hydrocarbons historically played a vital role in America’s electricity mix, accounting for a third of the country’s energy production as recently as 2008.

But over the past decade, a devastating combination of forces has pummeled the industry, from cheap natural gas and the falling cost of renewables to growing public pressure to respond to the climate crisis. U.S. coal production has dropped 40 percent since its peak 12 years ago, and the commodity accounted for only 14 percent of the country’s electricity generation last year.

With the coronavirus pandemic now stalling energy demand, coal production has dropped about 26 percent in the past 12 months alone, perhaps ringing the death knell for coal as an energy source in America.

The pandemic has even further depressed the use of energy, and oil prices have collapsed, making it even more difficult to compete,” said Ohio Coal Association president Mike Cope, who estimated a strong industry would need to provide a third of the country’s energy. “Nothing really to cheer about in the coal industry these days.”

Hit with another wave of bankruptcies, King Coal is on its deathbed. But even as it fades away, the industry could land a final, painful blow to communities and the environment in Appalachia.

An investigation by DeSmog has found that several key financial instruments meant to guarantee environmental cleanup have been pushed to the brink of insolvency, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions — if not billions — of dollars in reclamation costs.

Even as coal companies go bankrupt and walk away, a federal law passed in 1977 created an ostensibly fail-safe system to fund future cleanups: Mining companies put up millions of dollars in security deposits intended to pay for reclaiming individual mines. These funds, called bonds, usually come as surety policies, which are provided by insurance companies and guarantee a third party will fill pits, seal shafts, and mitigate water and air pollution.

But DeSmog has found that the bonding system now faces dangerous levels of risk. The large insurance companies that once wrote surety policies are fleeing the industry, allowing a few insurance providers to take on much more liability than they can handle. If enough coal companies go under, it will set off a chain reaction, taking these insurance companies down with them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

VOODOO ECONOMICS: ‘The Covid-19 Dominoes Fall’, The World Is Insolvent

Leave a comment

Of Two Minds

– By Charles Hugh Smith

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Source – oftwominds.com

“…Everyone expecting the financial markets to magically return to January 2020 levels once the pandemic dies down is delusional. All the dominoes of crashing market valuations, crashing incomes, crashing profits and soaring defaults will take down all the fantasy-based valuations of bubblicious assets: stocks, bonds, real estate, bat guano, you name it….The global financial system has already lost $100 trillion in market value, and therefore it’s already insolvent”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Subtract their immense debts and they have negative net worth, and therefore the market value of their stock is zero.

To understand why the financial dominoes toppled by the Covid-19 pandemic lead to global insolvency, let’s start with a household example. The point of this exercise is to distinguish between the market value of assets and net worth, which is what’s left after debts are subtracted from the market value of assets.

Let’s say the household has done very well for itself and owns assets worth $1 million: a home, a family business, 401K retirement accounts and a portfolio of stocks and other investments.

The household also has $500,000 in debts: home mortgage, auto loans, student loans and credit card balances.

The household net worth is thus $1,000,000 minus $500,000 = $500,000.

Let’s say a typical financial crisis and recession occur, and the household’s assets fall 30%. 30% of $1 million is $300,000, so the the market value of the household’s assets falls to $700,000.

Deduct the $500,000 in debts and the household’s net worth has fallen to $200,000. The point here is debts remain regardless of what happens to the market value of assets owned by the household.

More

Department of Labor begins hearings today: How to confiscate your retirement savings and make you think its a good deal

5 Comments

 Live Link: United States Department of Labor

EBSA News

Release Date: August 26, 2010
Release Number: 09-1234-NAT
Contact Name: Gloria Della
Phone Number: 202.693.8664    202.693.8664    Email: Della.Gloria@dol.gov

U.S. Department of Labor publishes agenda for September 14-15 joint hearing on lifetime income options for retirement plans

Washington — Today the U. S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released the agenda for the upcoming joint hearing with the Department of the Treasury on lifetime income options for retirement plans. Accompanying the agenda are copies of the witnesses’ requests to testify and testimony outlines. The hearing begins at 9:00 a.m. (EST) on September 14 and 15, 2010. The hearing will be held in the Labor Department’s main auditorium, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C.

A live webcast of the hearing will be available on EBSA’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.

The agenda and requests to testify are available on EBSA’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa. Individuals planning to attend the hearing should provide contact information by email to e-ORI@dol.gov and arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the hearing to expedite entrance into the building.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department’s Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828            202.693.7828     TTY 202.693.7755               202.693.7755     The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department’s Compliance Assistance page.

The Money That Is Sold Abroad Is You! Your leaders are selling YOU!

1 Comment

Live Link:  National Expositor

This is a must watch video.  Ever wonder what the collateral is on all the money borrowed from China, Japan, or elsewhere?  It’s you Babe!  If this little 5 min video doesn’t rock your world, if it doesn’t make you sit up and pay attention……maybe you are cattle.  Marti

FreeDomain Radio

%d bloggers like this: