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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Kari Lydersen for Midwest Energy News:Peabody Energy is one of the country’s largest coal companies, supplying power plants and steel mills around the world.But in the past few years the company’s fortunes have plummeted, and environmental leaders don’t believe Peabody’s promises that, when the time comes, it will be able to pay more than $250 million to clean up its Illinois Basin mines.Under federal law, mining companies must set aside money to pay for reclamation once mining stops. This is generally done through insurance policies known as surety bonds. But the government also allows companies in good financial shape to “self-bond,” promising that their own assets will be able to cover the cost of reclamation.A decade ago, Peabody Energy would have been considered a robust company, and there were few concerns about its self-bonding arrangements.Today it’s a different story. And industry experts doubt that the plan Peabody executives described on an earnings call earlier this month will do much to turn the tide, given the rapid retreat of coal-fired power and the slowing of China’s economy that’s a major factor in worldwide coal demand.“The risk is that Peabody’s responsibility to clean up from its mining operations will be washed away in a bankruptcy proceeding, and Illinois taxpayers will be left holding the financial bag,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “That’s unacceptable.”The ELPC on February 12 filed citizen complaints on behalf of Illinois and Indiana residents calling on the states to require Peabody to revise its self-bonding agreements. If this doesn’t happen, the complaint asks for the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) to charge the company with violations of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA).Meanwhile, Peabody is proposing a debt swap to shore up its finances, and offering three mines in the Illinois Basin and one in Arizona as collateral for credit holders. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) released a study this month arguing that Peabody’s financial predictions for the Illinois Basin mines are too rosy and “unsustainable,” potentially meaning more bad news for the company and for its mine reclamation prospects if those debts go bad.“They pretty much think they can reduce their commitments through the bankruptcy process,” said IEEFA finance director Tom Sanzillo, former first deputy comptroller of New York and an expert on bankruptcy. “We’re very concerned about this, and the states are being reckless in how they’re managing a federal program.”Peabody’s problemsOn the earnings call, Peabody CFO and executive vice president Amy Schwetz described 2015 revenues of $5.6 billion, down 17 percent from the previous year. In 2012, Peabody’s revenue was $8.1 billion.Executives blamed the decline on falling coal prices and low sales volume, driven in part by a mild winter which has decreased demand for power, and on the slowing economy in China. They noted that coal revenues have been impacted by low natural gas prices, which make coal-fired power less competitive.Peabody’s mines are concentrated in Australia and in the U.S. West and Midwest. Peabody has massive holdings in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, which ships coal to power plants in the Midwest; and the company mines in the Illinois Basin, in Indiana and Illinois. The IEEFA says that coal prices in the Powder River Basin have dropped 19 percent since 2012, and prices in the Illinois Basin have dropped 38 percent since that time.“There is no doubt our debt and equity are trading at distressed levels, which is indicative of the headwinds the industry is facing,” said Peabody CEO and President Glenn Kellow on the earnings call. “And, whilst we fully expect 2016 to be another trying year for the U.S. coal industry, we continue to believe that our leading positions in the lowest-cost basins will best position us to benefit from any rise in natural gas prices and coal demand over time.Peabody Energy did not take questions after the earnings call and did not respond to a request for comment for this story.“This is moving fast,” said Learner. “You’re watching the coal industry deteriorate not because of the so-called war on coal – it’s simply not competing well in the market.”Self-bonding concernsCiting Peabody’s 2015 year-end financial results, the ELPC complaint charges that Peabody does not meet the federal requirements for self-bonding, that “the applicant has a ratio of liabilities to net worth of 2.5 or less and a ratio of current assets to liabilities of 1.2 or greater.”“Peabody Energy has a ratio of liabilities to net worth of 11.6 and a ratio of current assets to liabilities of 0.84,” the complaints note.Peabody’s Illinois Basin self-bonding is done through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Peabody Energy, Peabody Investments Corporation.Experts say that if Peabody Energy declares bankruptcy, its subsidiary would not be able to make good on the self-bonding and cover the costs of reclamation. The federal regulations on self-bonding, developed in 1983, make clear that companies with a chance of bankruptcy should not be eligible.Companies are required to report to regulators if they have a significant deterioration in their financial condition. And even if they don’t report, it is regulators’ responsibility to keep an eye on the situation and ask the tough questions, in Sanzillo’s view. If a company’s position declines to the point that it can’t be trusted to cover its self-bonds, regulators have the power to demand a different reclamation guarantee.Peabody’s plansWith the debt swap, Peabody is hoping to reduce the principal of $1.5 billion in debt by $730 million, also reducing annual interest payments by $47 million.“Relative to the overall size of the Peabody debt burden and ongoing net losses, the savings are too small to have a meaningful impact on company finances,” says the IEEFA report.As part of its financial efforts, Peabody is selling its share of the troubled Prairie State Energy Campus in central Illinois. Peabody was one of the originators of the plant billed as an innovative “clean coal” “mine-to-mouth” operation fired by coal from an adjacent mine.The cost of the plant and its electricity has ballooned beyond original projections, and Peabody reduced its stake to a 5 percent ownership while municipalities and power authorities across the Midwest have been saddled with deals forcing them to pay well above market rate for power. Peabody is now selling its share to the Wabash Valley Power Association for $57 million. According to the IEEFA’s analysis of SEC filings, Peabody has invested $246 million in Prairie State.“They’re taking a haircut on this investment even though they’re saying they took a gain, which explains to me why they’re [potentially headed for] bankruptcy,” said Sanzillo. “They can’t tell a loss from a gain.”A dark future for coal?The precarious reclamation situation and the offering of three Illinois mines as collateral for Peabody’s debt swap could put pressure on the company to keep mines running that would otherwise be shuttered. This could contribute to a vicious cycle of increasing supply and diminishing coal prices.“The continuation of the self-bonding while these companies are in financial distress creates the conditions for them to maintain mines that should be closed,” said Sanzillo. “It’s a zombie mine, a dead mine that’s still alive – chasing a ghost market.”The Illinois Basin mines offered as collateral are the Wild Boar mine and Francisco Mine in Indiana, and the Gateway Mine in southern Illinois.“If they can’t come up with the premium payments or no one will insure them, then they need to close the mines,” Sanzillo continued. “No, they don’t have the money for reclamation. So the state would have a claim. I would just sue immediately, get in line on their bankruptcies.”An investigation released by Reuters in June 2015 noted that Peabody and the nation’s three other largest coal companies – Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Cloud Peak Energy – have $2.7 billion worth of future reclamation costs covered by self-bonding. Arch and Alpha, which have both declared bankruptcy, are also under federal scrutiny for their self-bonding practices.“If the industry was disciplined and realized the price of coal isn’t sufficient to cover what they’re doing, they should be closing mines – to tighten the supply, to increase the price and do better,” Sanzillo said. “We look at the fundamentals – the price of coal won’t carry it any time for the foreseeable future. You cut through the smoke…and the mule can’t pull the cart anymore.”Critics: Peabody can no longer be counted on to clean up coal mines Skeptics Say Peabody Is So Broke It Can’t Even Clean Up After Itselflast_img read more

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo October 31, 2016 QUISIERA OFRECER MIS SERVICIOS CON MIS EMBARCACIONES YA LE DIMES SERVICIO EN EL 2016 CON MI CATAMARAN MIKEIRA Q TIENE CAPACIDAD PARA 90 PERSONAS CORRE 14 NUDOS Y DE MI LANCHA RÁPIDA DE CAPACIDAD PARA 12 PERSONAS LA CUAL CORRE 24 NUDOS , QUERÍA SABER COMO PODER CONTACTARME CON LA PERSONA ENCARGADA OK GRACIAS SOY RENZO NOBLECILLA TEJADA JEFE DE OPERACIONES DE YARDUL MIS EMBARCACIONES CUENTAS CON TODAS LAS COMODIDADES Y SON JATES MI MÓVIL ES 982342965 GRACIAS . A team of 70 combat engineers from the U.S. Marine Corps and 50 members of the recently formed Engineer Battalion of the Peruvian Marine Corps participated in the Koa Moana 2016 joint exercise. As part of the battalion’s preparations for UNITAS 2017, a multinational naval exercise, the service members exchanged knowledge to improve their abilities to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian aid. From September 2nd – 8th, combat engineers from the two countries engaged in a series of activities on different types of terrain at the Peruvian Marine Corps Base facilities and in the area of Quebrada Inocente in the coastal municipality of Ancón. The exercise included training for natural disasters that endanger public safety, such as earthquakes, torrential rains, floods, and landslides. UNITAS is the U.S. Navy’s longest-running maritime exercise. It has taken place annually since 1960 to train and increase inter-operability among the naval forces of each of the Latin American navies. The exercise consists of joint maritime-interdiction operations, transnational organized-crime combat, and anti-surface warfare. UNITAS 2017 will be hosted by Peru. The Peruvian Marine Corps’ exchange of knowledge and experience with their U.S. counterparts during Koa Moana 2016 (“sea warrior” in Hawaiian) has resulted in fast and effective assistance to the civilian population during natural disasters. “This is a part of the preparation of the Peruvian Navy’s new combat engineer unit, which will be participating in UNITAS 2017 for the first time,” said Major Armando A. Daviu, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South Public Affairs Officer, to Diálogo on October 21. “This exercise normally takes place in the Pacific rim. This time we asked the U.S. Marines to have an exchange with our Peruvian counterparts. This exchange does not only show off Peru as a Latin American nation, but also as a nation of the Pacific,” specified Maj. Daviu. During Koa Moana 2016, participants improved their capacities for survival, defensive positions, combat engineering, placement and removal of obstacles, equipment transport, construction of modular bridges and hospitals, checkpoint security, vehicle searches, shooting, use of explosives, operations against improvised explosive devices and saltwater treatment. They also engaged in recreational sports, so as not to neglect their physical fitness. In addition, U.S. Marines also taught Peruvian officials several techniques for stabilizing injured individuals. These techniques are used on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in civilian hospitals in the United States. “As host of UNITAS 2017, the Peruvian Navy is considering holding exercises that will serve to standardize procedures and criteria that will allow for joining forces to face humanitarian-aid emergencies together,” in order to raise the Engineer Battalion’s capability in terms of natural disasters, Rear Admiral Juan Cueva López, commander of the Peruvian Marine Corps, told Diálogo on October 13th. “These exercises are very positive because the world has changed in terms of natural disasters. We must be aware that soldiers are not only trained for war; they are trained for peacekeeping in natural-disaster situations,” said César Ortiz Anderson, security analyst and president of Peru’s Pro-Citizen Security Association, to Diálogo. The first structures to suffer damages during a natural disaster are bridges, highways and airports. The armed forces are first to reopen communication in order to provide humanitarian aid and safeguard the affected areas. Although the Engineer Battalion has been focused on the fight against terrorism, the transition to improving human safety and logistics and adapting its organizational structure to this new role was an immediate challenge as the exercise went on. “All the personnel involved efficiently fulfilled their assigned tasks, and it was possible to go through the training without any hitches,” emphasized Rear Adm. Cueva. UNITAS, Koa Moana and other exercises “help us to better understand other regions in case we are called to other areas in the world. You have to remember that many of our Marines have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past ten years. Operating in the desert is not the same as in the jungles of the VRAEM, in Peru,” reflected Maj. Daviu. The Peruvian and U.S. Marines also exchanged professional experiences in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM, per its Spanish acronym). The U.S. Marines provide the Peruvian Marine Corps with training as preparation for their deployment in the VRAEM, where the Armed Forces have an operation against Shining Path and drug-trafficking groups. A team of U.S. Marines travels to Peru every six months to complement the training. “Through all these ways of conducting exercises, exchanging experience, developing abilities, obtaining better equipment, and cooperating, we are certain the Peruvian Marine Corps’ Engineer Battalion will be a benchmark for units of this type in the country and the region,” concluded Rear Adm. Cueva. “We will continue our main task geared toward defense.”last_img read more

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Graeme Smith has achieved plenty of outstanding achievements in his playing career. He was the youngest South Africa captain to be appointed at the age of 22. He helped South Africa win a series in Australia for the first time in 2008 and he repeated the feat in 2012. In the 2008 series, Smith showed tremendous guts in trying to save a Test while batting with a broken hand during the Sydney Test against Australia. Against England, he helped the Proteas win on their shores for the first time in 43 years in 2008. Smith is the only skipper in Test history to have captained the side in over 100 Tests and he has the most wins with 53. Recently, Smith was bestowed with another honour as he was elected as a honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).The official handle of the MCC tweeted, “MCC has today announced the election of @OfficialCSA legend @GraemeSmith49 as an Honorary Life Member of the Club.” To this, Smith responded, “Thank you @HomeOfCricket and the MCC for this incredible honour. I have so many amazing memories there and I’m excited to share more with you in the future.” Former Australian off-spinner Tim May was also awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his outstanding achievements in cricket. The pair follow Paul Collingwood, AB de Villiers, Mitchell Johnson and Adrian Morgan in being awarded Honorary Life Membership of MCC this year.Smith’s performances in England, were truly spectacular, smashing five centuries including 277 in Birmingham and 259 in Lord’s during the 2003 series. His knock in Lord’s created history as he broke the record for the highest individual score by an overseas player. His 259 beat Sir Donald Bradman’s 73-year record and wrote himself into Lord’s folklore. In 2008, his 154* in the fourth innings in Edgbaston gave South Africa a tense win and a series win for the first time since 1965.Also Read | Happy Birthday Graeme Smith – A legendary skipper who helped South Africa scale the summitSmith, who has an impressive record in One-Day International cricket for his country, scored 6,989 runs including ten centuries, expressed his excitement on being bestowed upon the honour. The left-hander went on to enjoy a monumental Test Match career. He struck 27 centuries amongst his 9,265 career runs and was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 2004.last_img read more

first_imgMASON CITY — Free tax filing of your 2019 return is now available from the Internal Revenue Service.IRS spokesperson Diane Fox says you can find the information on their website. “You can go to IRS.gov/freefile and get started on your taxes. Free File does all the hard work for you. Frankly, it makes taxes less taxing in a lot of ways,” Fox says. She says the program is based on your income.“Anyone who made $69,000 or less last year can use Free File,” she says. “We even have a special offer for active duty military personnel. And we offer one product in Spanish.” Fox says they have a variety of name brand Free File options.“It’s do it yourself software, but it leads people through, so that people don’t leave money on the table — that they get all the benefits that are available to them for their refund,” according to Fox. “And makes sure that it checks everything for them before they electronically file.”Fox says there is added benefit to going through the IRS site to get the Free File software. “You end up with the guardrails that we have in place for this program to make sure that you are getting the Free File program that has some protections for you,” she says. “In fact, we even have some of those protections listed on our website — so you can readily see what to expect when you are using the program.”Fox says around 22,000 people in Iowa used Free File last year. She says that is well below the number of people who are eligible to use the program.last_img read more