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Photo: Matt Buck

Bankruptcy protection filings from the world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, recently revealed a mine of funding for climate denial advocacy. The coal company financed dozens of organizations working to destroy EPA emissions standards, refute known climate science and block new environmental legislation.

“We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement,” said Nick Surgey, Center for Media and Democracy’s Director of Research.

The amount of climate denial dollars Peabody dished out has not yet been disclosed; however, the extensive list of beneficiaries includes known anti-environment-and-clean-energy organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Berman and Company and The Energy & Environment Legal Institute.

Coal barge crossing the Monongahela River past a U.S. coke plant in Clairton, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: John L. Alexandrowicz)

Coal barge crossing the Monongahela River past a U.S. coke plant in Clairton, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: John L. Alexandrowicz)

Peabody’s support for climate deniers is not particularly surprising. The bankruptcy filing coincides with the lowest level of U.S. coal production since 1981. What is most bewildering about the decline of this dirty energy giant is that Citigroup is providing the corporation with $800 million in relief financing.

Last October, Citigroup publicly stated, “[W]e commit to…reducing our global credit exposure to coal mining companies.” However, the bank “declined to comment” on why they are backing Peabody.

Five years ago Peabody’s stock market value reached $20 billion; as of April 2016, it dropped to $38 million. Peabody is not the only coal company to file bankruptcy protection. According to Bloomberg, “more than half the assets in the global coal industry are now held by companies that are either in bankruptcy proceedings or don’t earn enough money to pay their interest bills”

The Citigroup Centre, seen from Cabot Square in London, England. (Photo Credit: Matt Buck)

The Citigroup Centre, seen from Cabot Square in London, England. (Photo Credit: Matt Buck)

Why is Citigroup bailing out this falling fossil fuel führer? They must believe Peabody’s CEO, Glenn Kellow, who explained, “a company like Peabody with safe, efficient operations will be well positioned to serve coal demand that will continue in the United States and around the world.”

Glenn’s optimism is unlikely given the expansion of the natural gas industry, strides in renewable energy and the growing global movement towards a clean energy future.

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