Peabody Energy: New York Times Blames Victim for Shareholder Losses; Ignores Obama Duplicity

by Marlo Lewis on February 14, 2016

in Blog

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A few weeks ago, the New York Times published an article that not-so-subtly takes the side of 35 Senators and 62 institutional investors who want the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) to force fossil-energy companies to confess their unsustainability in a carbon-constrained world.

It’s the old self-fulfilling prophesy trick. Adopt lawless regulations aimed at bankrupting fossil-energy companies, lock in those regulations through a non-ratified treaty that dare not speak its name, then coerce those companies into scaring away shareholders, and presto, many will in fact go bankrupt. As their numbers and resources decline, so will their ability to defend themselves against further regulatory attack.

Translating into Borg-speak: “Freedom is irrelevant. Constitution is irrelevant. Your economy will adapt to service us.”

But resistance is not futile. Fossil fuels remain the world’s most affordable energy source for poverty eradication. What’s truly unsustainable is the green project to put an energy-starved world on an energy diet.

The Supreme Court just handed Obama and the EPA a major setback. And for all we know at this point, the next President and Congress will thwart EPA’s Power Grab and Obama’s attempt to bypass Senate review of the Paris climate treaty.

I wrote a short letter to the Times on the S.E.C. article. The editor did not publish it, so I will post it here.

Dear Editor,

David Gelles writes in S.E.C. Is Criticized for Lax Enforcement of Climate Risk Disclosure (Jan.23) that as recently as 2011, shares in Peabody Energy sold for $1,000, today they hover at around $4, investors lost millions, and “Peabody saw this coming.” Talk about blaming the victim!

Is Peabody to blame because it underestimated the President’s cynicism toward voters and disrespect for Congress’s constitutional role in making environmental policy?

Mr. Gelles apparently forgets recent history. In 2010, exposure of cap-and-trade as a stealth tax on coal-based power cost Democrats their control of the House. Accordingly, in the next election cycle, President Obama ran from, rather than on, climate policy.

Candidate Obama did not disclose his plans to put EPA in charge of state electric power sectors, negotiate the “most ambitious climate agreement in history,” and halt coal mine leasing on federal lands. The President, not Peabody, misled the company’s shareholders.

Marlo Lewis

Competitive Enterprise Institute

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