Secretary of Interior warns coal industry could leave taxpayers with major bill

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

U.S. taxpayers could be left with multibillion-dollar liabilities if large coal companies are pushed to bankruptcy, the Interior Department secretary said on Wednesday.

At issue is a practice known as self-bonding, allowed under a decades-old mining program, in which some of the country’s biggest coal companies forego insurance on a portion of future mine cleanup costs.

Officials estimate that roughly $3.6 billion in self-bond liabilities could fall to taxpayers.

Creve Coeur-based Arch Coal Inc. and St. Louis-based Peabody Energy Corp. are among the nation’s largest coal companies that make use of the self-bond program.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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