Op Ed: It’s Time To Prohibit Self-Bonding By Coal Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Caspar Star Tribune:This past month a completely unknown and unproven company called Blackjewel, LLC “bought” two of Wyoming’s oldest and biggest coal mines. More particularly, they were given the mines in exchange for assuming their cleanup risks and some hypothetical future royalties. They acquired the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines near Gillette from another new and unproven company called Contura Energy, spawned just last year when Alpha Natural Resources went through bankruptcy and spun off what it called its “crown jewel” Wyoming assets. Now the crown jewels aren’t looking so shiny and Contura is unloading them at a loss because these mines are liabilities. Instead, Contura will concentrate on its metallurgical coal business in the East.Hopefully, the one thing that should not be a problem going forward is bonding to assure clean up and reclamation of the mines. Thanks to a settlement agreement with the Department of Interior during Alpha’s bankruptcy, Contura wasn’t allowed to self-bond. Instead of continuing to hide, as Alpha had done, behind the chimera of a self-guarantee – really nothing more than an uncollectible IOU — Contura was forced to back Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr’s reclamation work with surety bonds and letters of credit from third-party financial institutions. Blackjewel should be required to do the same as a condition of the sale before the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lets them take over the mine permits. This would insure there will be money available for reclamation jobs if Blackjewel were to walk away from its cleanup obligations while these bonds are still in effect.The recent history of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines demonstrates one thing: their cleanup liabilities are nearly as high as (and possibly higher than) their value as operating mines. This loudly underscores that Wyoming regulators must not continue to allow self-bonding.If uncertainties and a down market continue to plague the coal industry as economists nearly unanimously predict, self-bonds will remain worthless promises and Wyoming will pay the price. Unless Wyoming prohibits them now, the next time mines change hands and weaker and weaker mine owners go bankrupt, we will not be so lucky.Self-bonding has no place in a regulatory scheme that was created to ensure the worst-case never happens. Taxpayers were never meant to be left holding the bag for hundreds of millions of dollars in reclamation work. America’s coal mining regulations were born in the late 1970s when abandoned and un-reclaimed mines were strewn across the country. Congress created an abandoned mine land fee to clean up past messes and required reclamation bonds to prevent future mines from being abandoned without reclamation. But the law also contained a loophole allowing states to accept self-bonds in the place of reliable third-party guarantees. Although Montana and other states showed the foresight to prohibit self-bonding, Wyoming became the No. 1 user in the country of self-bonding IOUs. Three years ago when Alpha, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal all declared bankruptcy, there was more than $2.4 billion of reclamation work in our state not covered by collectible insurance.With the lessons of these bankruptcies fresh in our memory, DEQ is considering an important step to update Wyoming’s reclamation bond rules. The update proposes to remove loopholes that allow companies to qualify for self-bonds when they really shouldn’t. DEQ’s proposed rules are an important change that would reduce risk to our citizens and our state treasury. Unfortunately, there will always be some risk from self-bonding until Wyoming totally eliminates the practice. As DEQ moves forward with their new rules, the agency needs to eliminate ALL self-bonding for ALL new coalmine permits and ALL permit renewals. Colorado has recently taken steps to limit self-bonding after the Peabody and Arch bankruptcies, and Wyoming should follow their example.–Bob LeResche is vice chair of the Powder River Basin Resource Council and a board member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. He is a former commissioner of Natural Resources for the state of Alaska and executive director of the Alaska Energy Authority.More: Contura Sale Underscores Need to End Self Bonding
“It’s just a physical game,” Lallana added. “Look at the amount of games we’ve had over the Christmas period. It’s been a tough run and with the demands on players nowadays there’s bound to be injuries. “If you look at teams around the league I bet you’ll find the number of injuries has definitely increased. “Not every club is in the semi-finals of this competition (League Cup), playing in the Europa League and about to get going in the FA Cup on Friday night. “But we’ll all stick together. I’m sure the lads who are out will be working extra hard to get back fit.” Klopp has already pointed out his team are doing more recovery sessions than training because of the fixture congestion and the gradual drain on resources has put additional strain on the remaining fit players. But his biggest concern is in central defence where he is hoping Toure will be fit enough to face Exeter, but Mamadou Sakho, who missed the Stoke tie with a minor knee problem, appears unlikely to return. “The problem is if all the players in this moment had no injuries in pre-season they are still in the race and can cope with this intensity, but they have had little things and had no chance to recover,” he said. “We have no break, no chance to recover, but we couldn’t wave the white flag. “We can’t say we have games against Arsenal and Manchester so we can have another team against Stoke. We have to get on with it and see. “I don’t know if any have a chance of being fit. Sakho? I don’t think so. Kolo said it’s only a cramp, but don’t know for him either. “We now have three injured centre-backs and the only fit one got cramp at the end of the second half so that was not the funniest thing in the world.” Playmaker Philippe Coutinho and defender Dejan Lovren both succumbed to hamstring issues in the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final win at Stoke. Klopp now has a total of 11 first-team players unavailable – including six either with or recovering from hamstring injuries – and the German admits it is likely to force him into the transfer market. He currently only has one fit centre-back in Kolo Toure, who gave his manager a scare with a late bout of cramp at the Britannia Stadium. Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana insists Jurgen Klopp’s training regime is not to blame for a spate of hamstring problems which have brought injuries to crisis levels at Anfield. Press Association There has been much conjecture about whether the introduction of Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ style mid-season after he took over from the sacked Brendan Rodgers has led to the injuries – former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness said it was time for the manager to consider modifying training – but Lallana rejected that. “We have had a change of manager this season. When that happens lads look to impress more and give more,” said the England international. “But I don’t think these injuries have got anything to do with any changes to our training. “We’ve had so many games recently that we’ve mainly been doing recovery sessions between games, so it’s not as if the training has been really intensive. You can’t blame that. “Sometimes you are just unlucky with injuries and we’ve had a lot of bad luck recently. “I know from my time at Liverpool that we’ve got a world-class medical team here. We certainly can’t point the finger at anyone. “It’s a big blow losing Philippe and Dejan, and we just hope they aren’t going to be out for long.” Liverpool’s packed schedule – Friday’s FA Cup trip to Exeter will be their fifth match in 14 days – is more likely to have a contributing factor, Lallana reckons.
Before you rush out to your nearest department store to get mom that fancy espresso machine she’s been eyeing, do a little research. Your pocketbook will thank you.The price of a Mother’s Day gift can vary as much as 71 percent depending on where it’s bought, according to a study by Costa Rica’s Economy Ministry (MEIC). Inspectors from MEIC’s Consumer Protection Office visited 192 businesses in the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and San José from July 28 to 31 and compiled prices of various gift options, including clothes, shoes, jewellery, home appliances, electronic devices and others.Among items surveyed, MEIC inspectors evaluated prices of 204 models of nine appliances. In some cases the price of identical items — same product, same brand — varied hugely from store to store. For example, the price of a Proctor Silex coffeemaker ranged from ₡20.900 to ₡32.900 ($38.70 to $61) — a 71 percent difference.Inspectors also compared similar products but different brands and found that price differences were even bigger. For example, inspectors surveyed the price of flat irons and found prices ranging from ₡4.624 ($9) for a Sankey model to ₡51.103 ($95) for a Remington — a 1,005 percent difference.Economy Vice Minister Geannina Dinarte Romero said the study’s findings confirm the importance for consumers to visit various businesses and compare prices and deals, especially around holidays like Mother’s Day.“Differences are so huge that we call on consumers to really take them into consideration in order to make an informed purchase decision,” she said.MEIC’s study also included an analysis of information displayed at stores and deals advertised in print media. Inspectors looked at the accuracy and clarity of information on price tags and on store signs or banners, including before- and after-discount prices, warranty conditions, special offer restrictions and the exchange rate in prices displayed in dollars.The results showed that 81 percent of businesses (156 of those surveyed) complied with Costa Rican laws regarding truth in advertising, an improvement over the previous year when a similar study found 72 percent compliance.A total of 25 businesses were asked to immediately correct detected errors, while 11 of them were given a written warning that grants them 10 days to comply with the law. Stores that fail to comply can be slapped with monetary fines ranging from ₡2.5 million to ₡10.2 million ($4,680 to $18,773).MEIC conducts price comparisons prior to holidays that boost sales, such as Christmas, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. The full report can be downloaded (Spanish only) on the ministry’s website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Watch out for Mother’s Day sales tricks, says Economy Ministry Coming Holy Week brings huge price spikes in seafood Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber suspends public hearing on proposed changes to mobile Internet rates New banking consumer watchdog agency to open in November