Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Should Peabody Coal Get $50 Million in Tax Breaks from St. Louis??

St. Louis City is set to consider Board Bill 73, which would provide up to $50 million dollars in tax breaks for Peabody Coal, one of the leading fossil fuel dinosaurs and climate change deniers in the country. At a time when the city is struggling for cash and talking about cutbacks and layoffs, could this possibly be a good idea? Here's a letter that Climate Action St. Louis sent to Mayor Slay:
Ms. Green,

I appreciate your staff member meeting with us earlier today regarding our concerns over Board Bill 73. As we said, we have some real concerns about the adverse consequences that this bill will inevitably bring about, and feel that the bill is being expedited without due process, as evidenced by the facts that the sponsor of the bill, Alderperson Young, had not read the cost/benefit analysis of the bill when we met with her today, and that the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPC), has not analyzed the financial impacts which this bill will have on their work. We also feel that adverse impacts on the environment which are facilitated by the extraction, production, and combustion of coal are fundamentally inconsistent with the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement which Mayor Slay has signed, as well as the keynote address which he delivered at the 350 International Day of Climate Action on October 24, 2009.

We believe that in light of this lack of communication and consideration, the virtue of prudence requires that this bill be tabled until all concerned parties have been made aware of the bill, and have had a chance to review and consider all of itsimplications. Toward that end, please find a list of our concerns regarding Board Bill 73 attached to this email. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Ben Paulson
There's a rally scheduled for this Friday for those interested in opposing this bill.

Related: Earlier in the year, Peabody Vice President of Government Relations was schooled by the Sierra Club's Bruce Nilles in a debate at Washington University.


  1. I'm not a fan of these tax breaks, but everyone in the country has them. Id rather keep the biggest energy producer in the world headquartered here in downtown, while we figure out the economics of clean energy and our real future.

  2. Hrmmm. If we can't fight these problems locally, how in the world are we going to fight them nationally? Sounds like passing the buck to me.

  3. If Phyllis has not read the relevant information it does seem that There should be a delay. However I want to be clear about what the problem is.

    Is the complaint that the use of fifty million dollars is a bad return on investment? If so I would like to see numbers. Those numbers would be the incomes earned in St. Louis, The total taxes paid real,personal and sales plus the multiplicative effects on the economy less the tax breaks.It is possible that this is a bad investment but both sides have a duty to provide verifiable numbers.

    Is the problem that people are opposed to coal. Fine what do you suggest? Most Missouri power and much of US energy is currently from coal. Should we turn that off tomorrow? Shut down hundreds of coal fired plants,lay off the electrical workers, lay off all of the miners and suddenly drastically reduce our energy consumption.

    In utopia the above may happen but not in the US. On the other hand maybe St. Louis should withdraw from the national economy and we can starve righteously.

    Myself I want my Federal Government to invest in alternative technologies. I want cap and trade and I want a transition to cleaner less destructive fuels without an economic calamity.

  4. I believe ShockCity Music took advantage of some tax breaks too.

    Everybody does it.