peabody3Peabody Energy – which began buying and selling coal in Chicago in 1883, and grew to become one of the world’s largest coal miners – has just filed for bankruptcy in the US.

Peabody was notorious for its shocking environmental record in the US. (See  from John Prine’s 1971 album)

The announcement sounds alarm bells for Queensland communities reliant on coal mining, according to the Queensland Conservation Council.

“Peabody has six coal mines in Queensland. The Queensland Government must immediately ask Peabody Energy Australia if they have the financial resources to pay for the rehabilitation work to ensure the environmental safeguards of all of these mines”, said Kirsten Macey, Climate Campaigner at the Queensland Conservation Council.

“What is concerning for Queenslanders is that companies like Peabody Energy Australia will pack up and leave without cleaning up their mess.

“The Queensland Government’s Chain of Responsibility Bill must be supported by all Members of Parliament to ensure that the Queensland taxpayer is not left to foot the bill.

“Queensland’s regional communities are already being affected as the world moves to keep coal in the ground, the Queensland Government must now start thinking about what this means for regional jobs and communities.

“Coal is in decline, we need to rapidly shift to 100% renewables, to protect the Queensland we know and love”, Ms Macey said.

Qld Greens Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and mining spokesperson, also said:

“The state regulators must urgently secure adequate rehabilitation bonds from Peabody for their Queensland and New South Wales mines.

“We need this rehabilitation money in place before coal companies go bust so it can fund local jobs in site rehabilitation for workers who are laid off.

“Absurdly, the Queensland Government reportedly gave Peabody $24 million in discounts on their rehabilitation bonds on the basis that Peabody is financially sound.

“The Liberal and Labor parties need to finally see the writing on the wall that the coal industry is dying because it can’t compete with clean energy, especially in a world tackling global warming. 

“We Greens have announced a transition plan that would provide vital jobs and training in mine site rehabilitation, clean energy and other 21st century industries,” Senator Waters said.