‘Stunning Collapse’ of Coal Industry Reveals the Risk to Taxpayers in Companies’ Self-Bonding Allowances

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享William Yardley for the Los Angeles Times:For four decades, mining companies have been required to repair land they mine to a form and function similar to its previous condition. The process is called reclamation, and, done well, it can be convincing. Some of the smoothest slopes and meadows here were shaped not by time and the elements but by federal law and heavy equipment.“What you’re looking at right now just won a national award,” Mark Dunn, the environmental manager for Cloud Peak Energy’s Cordero Rojo mine, said this month, pointing to a panorama that included active mining to the west and a restored stream and wetlands to the east. “We try to make it close to the way it was before — or better.”Now, however, amid a stunning collapse of the coal industry that has prompted some of the nation’s largest mining companies to file for bankruptcy, there are new questions about how the giant holes dug in Wyoming and elsewhere across the West will be filled and who will pay to fill them. Wyoming produces nearly 40% of the nation’s coal used for electricity.Under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, for mining to go on, reclamation has to go on. But in some cases, big companies have persuaded government regulators to let them operate under terms that seem to turn the law upside down: For reclamation to continue, mining has to continue.Last month, prompted by a complaint from environmental groups, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement challenged Wyoming regulators to show that two major companies that have both filed for bankruptcy in the last year, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, have enough money to do the reclamation work they are obligated to do.In the weeks since then, following more complaints from environmental groups, the agency has made similar demands related to mines operated in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Indiana and Illinois by another imperiled company, Peabody Energy.All three of the companies have been allowed to meet many of their financial commitments for reclamation through a process called self-bonding. Under self-bonding, the companies do not have to pay a third party to guarantee that reclamation money would be there if the mining company suddenly failed. Instead, the companies essentially are allowed to say their financial strength is proof enough that they could meet their obligations.“The problem with self-bonding, basically, is that it’s based upon this notion of these companies being so wealthy and substantial,” said Mark Squillace, who teaches environmental law at the University of Colorado Law School. “It’s sort of like the banks being too big to fail, right?”Full article: Mining companies’ declining fortunes imperil the restoration of land they’ve mined ‘Stunning Collapse’ of Coal Industry Reveals the Risk to Taxpayers in Companies’ Self-Bonding Allowanceslast_img read more

Board of Elections announces additional early vote center, extended hours

first_imgSunday 10/25 — Noon – 5 p.m. Saturday 10/31 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early voting begins on Saturday, October 24th to Sunday, November 1st. The Broome County Library in BinghamtonThe Oakdale Mall between Macy’s and Ruby Tuesday’s in Johnson City The George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott Monday 10/26 — Noon – 8 p.m. Extended hours include: For further information, contact the Board of Elections website, or call (607) 778-2172. Other early voting locations include: Sunday 11/1 — Noon – 5 p.m. Tuesday 10/27 — Noon – 8 p.m. Wednesday 10/28 –10 a.m. – 6p.m.center_img Oct. 20, 22, 26, and 28 — open unitl 7 p.m. Thursday 10/29 — 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Officials also say the Board of Elections office in the County Office Building will also be extending their hours in which voters are able to have additional absentee ballot access. Early Voting Center Hours: Saturday 10/24 — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday 10/30 — 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Oct. 24, and 31 — open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. BC Board of Elections officials say the fourth early voting site will be in the Taste of NY Building at Cornell Cooperative Extension, located at 840 Upper Front St. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The Broome County Board of Elections has announced they will be adding an additional early voting center and will be open for extended hours for absentee access. last_img read more

Local Girl Scouts Hold Fundraisers to Save Camp Woodland in Alpena

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisThe Girl Scouts of Northeast Michigan Shore to Shore, along with their troop leaders, are gearing up for major fundraiser efforts to save one of the places they call home, Camp Woodlands.Fundraiser efforts are underway to save the historic Camp Woodlands Girl Scout Camp. The camp known to thousands of Northeast Michigan Girl Scouts and the community is in need of repair and renovations. If you take a drive past the airport and turn on Indian Reserve road you would eventually pull and find Camp Woodlands.Built over 60 years ago, Fundraiser Chair, Donna Precord said this is a way for not only the community to help, but also for past scouts to step up and help bring the camp back to life.“There’s a lot to be said. We have had probably more than a 1000 girls a year use this place, so in 60 years we have put a lot of girls through this camp, and it’s no wonder this camp needs a lot of help. So we’re going to ask the community to support us in some of the efforts that we have and if you ever been a girl scout perhaps this is the time to show how much you appreciated the opportunity you had,” Precord said.Precord said the goal for renovations includes a handicap accessible bathroom, roof replacements, upgrades both indoor and outdoor, and kitchen repairs.Precord said one of her favorite memories at the camp was learning how to survive the winter.“I loved winter camping. I did it 8 or 9 years. We slept in winter boxes, tents whatever. But the girls had to have practice knowing how to survive. They had to spend a whole day out at camp and endure all of the activities you need to do and stay safe and warm and then I would let go during the winter camp. But that I think was my most magical night,” she added.The scouts will have 4 major fundraisers coming up including a Camp Woodlands dinner, September 23rd, Building a Foundation starting on August 1st, Creating Puzzle Pieces, and Growing Trees at the Camp.The camp will celebrate their 60th anniversary on Saturday October 7th. For more information on how you can help with the efforts, contact Donna Precord at 989–354–5590.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Camp Woodland, Fundraiser, Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts Fundraiser, Girl Scouts of Northeast Michigan Shore to ShoreContinue ReadingPrevious MSP Alpena Post to Host 2017 Citizens AcademyNext Thunder Bay Theatre Holds a ‘West Side Story’ One Weekend Only Concertlast_img read more