Steamboat Springs When a bankruptcy court judge allowed Patriot Coal to alter the structure of benefits for thousands of retirees on May 29, Peabody Energy’s name was thrown around quite a bit.
Patriot Coal began its life as a spinoff of Peabody Energy in 2007 but made acquisitions during the next few years that added to its assets and liabilities. Some of the retirees who are affected by Patriot’s bankruptcy worked for mines never associated with Peabody.
Peabody Energy owns Twentymile Mine and the new Sage Creek Mine in Routt County. Because those mines are Peabody Energy assets, benefits associated with their past and present workers are not affected by Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy.
Only those who worked for mines or assets that were owned by Patriot Coal are affected by the restructuring of obligations.
Peabody Energy contributed to the benefits of some retirees who worked for assets transferred to Patriot Coal. Peabody Energy has stated it will continue to live up to its obligations.
Patriot Coal sought a court order explicitly stating that Peabody Energy could not reduce its obligations, but it was rebuffed.
“In its order, the court fully agreed with Peabody's contractual position,” reads a May 29 statement from Peabody Energy. “Peabody will continue to meet its obligations, as affirmed by today's rulings.”
Patriot Coal continues to explore whether a lawsuit is possible to recoup money from Peabody Energy stemming from its creation in 2007.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com