FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment, St. Louis, MO:
Climate Justice Alliance / Our Power Campaign, National:
Michael Leon Guerrero, (505) 263 4982 [Mountain] [email protected]
Activists call “Humans not Hedge Funds” to confront St Louis ‘big coal’ powers
150 People Plus Two on Horseback March down Forsyth Blvd., Confront Giant Law Firm Armstrong Teasdale
(Photos available here.)
ST. LOUIS, MO, June 24, 2016 — Coal-harmed workers, families and allies from 50 groups across the country “knocked at the doors of power” in Peabody Energy’s headquarters city on Friday, June 24th. This will be the second national action in St. Louis led by residents demanding a “Just Transition Fund” instead of “business as usual” from the coal giant’s chapter 11 bankruptcy. Activists confronted Peabody’s Law Firm, Armstrong Teasdale, headquartered in Clayton, MO, which represents Peabody in its bankruptcy to escape accountability to workers and their polluted and economically devastated communities.
Led by Marshall Johnson and Sheldon Natoni, on horseback from To’Nizhoni Ani and Black Mesa Water Coalition respectively, 150 marchers left from Shaw Park and immediately took the westbound lanes on Forsyth, marching East to the Armstrong Teasdale Headquarters. At Armstrong Teasdale, the law firm representing Peabody, speakers made their issues known with the bankruptcy.
“This Peabody bankruptcy has national impact, but the political and legal infrastructure making it happen is right here in the St Louis area,” pointed out city resident and MORE member, Nay’Chelle Harris. “It’s people like Attorneys Ehlers and Cousins of Armstrong Teasdale who are acting to ensure payouts go to hedge funds and Peabody executives instead of communities. They’re part of the machinery stranding workers and families harmed by Peabody’s dig-burn-dump business practices.” Community leaders have mapped out the St. Louis “infrastructure of injustice” this interactive web site.
Jihan Gearon of Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) / Our Power Campaign added, “There’s a better solution. Let this be the first corporate bankruptcy to fund both obligations to workers and communities, and a visionary “Just Transition” away from this harmful extraction economy.”
A Peabody Energy bankruptcy settlement directed towards a “Just Transition Fund” instead of big investor and executive payouts will:
Fully fund promised Peabody and Patriot coal worker pensions and health care plans.
Put an immediate stop to the forcible relocation and harassment of Diné (Navajo) people in northern Arizona and provide full reparations for cultural genocide caused by Peabody.
Guarantee full funding for clean-up and full reclamation of all mined lands and polluted and depleted aquifers used by Peabody.
Prioritize payouts to stakeholders for communities negatively impacted by Peabody’s practices in areas left stranded in the bankruptcy – rather than big investors and executives.
Support communities as they transition from coal-based economies toward jobs and infrastructure based on community-owned renewable energy and local self-sufficiency.
Support health care funds for pollution-fouled communities in and adjacent to mining and coal-processing areas.
“We’re through with that dirty, old game,” asserts St. Louis resident Basmin Nadra from MORE, “where a big coal company uses powerful local institutions and people to prop itself up. We won’t sit quiet while the legal system protects the interests of a wealthy few over the well-being of our families. We call on everyone who thinks that’s wrong to join us in demanding a better outcome. It’s time for us to recognize we are all connected in these concerns. This is an opportunity to set new precedents.”
To that end, St. Louis resident Connie Wess talked about courtwatching, where community members have entering the bankruptcy proceedings and bearing witness to trickery such as the Judge Schermer approving bonuses to 42 of Peabody’s top executives while not guaranteeing that healthcare and pension for workers would continue to be paid out. Residents have also been giving out hardcopies of Peabody’s bankruptcy map.
Spokespeople available for comment, interview
Photos available here.
This press release also available at ourpowercampaign.org/press-release-peabody-payup-action
SPOKESPERSON STATEMENTS: bit.ly/BTUstatements
ABOUT POWER BEHIND THE POLICE: powerbehindthepolice.com
ACTION FACEBOOK EVENT: http://bit.ly/humansnotHF
Organizations Represented at Action
Alliance for Appalachia
Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE)
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Black Mesa Water Coalition
Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)
Center for Story-based Strategy
Chicago Jobs with Justice
Climate Justice Alliance
Communities for a Better Environment
Divestment Student Network
East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Energy Justice Network
Environmental Justice League of RI
The FANG Collective
GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Grassroots Global Justice
Green For All
Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
Indigenous Environmental Network
Institute for Policy Studies
Ironbound Community Corporation
Haitian Platform for an Alternative Development (PADDA)
Just Transition Alliance
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Labor Network for Sustainability
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Native Women’s Care Circle
Movement Strategy Center
National Family Farm Coalition (member, US Food Sovereignty Alliance)
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson/Right to the City Alliance
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Right to the City
Solidarity Economy St. Louis
Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE)
Southwest Workers Union
The Ruckus Society
US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)