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Peabody Energy Objection Filed

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The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a supplemental objection, reflecting a new factual development, in connection with the Court’s consideration of the pending (a) motion of Peabody Energy for entry of a stipulation and order concerning reclamation bonding of surface coal mining operations in Wyoming, New Mexico and Indiana.

The objection asserts, “The Debtors’ 29-page reply largely misses the point, particularly with respect to the role of OSMRE, the state regulators, and the objectors’ rights under federal law. For that, the ‘business judgment rule’ has no applicability. The injury to ELPC and the other objectors – their standing – lies precisely in the attempt by the Debtors not only to interfere with the federal regulatory process, by ‘staying’ Indiana’s response to OSMRE and other federal agencies, but to eliminate practically ELPC’s ability to participate in the federal regulatory process by handcuffing the states’ response to the federal government’s Ten Day Notice Letters.”

The objection continues, “OSMRE, in the words of the U.S. Department of Justice, ‘retains ongoing authority to oversee the effectiveness…’ of any state program. The Debtors continue to ignore this ‘concurrent enforcement authority,’ just as they have ignored OSMRE’s post-petition enforcement action involving Wyoming in another oft-cited proceeding. The Debtors contend that ELPC’s participation in the OSMRE process is ‘not prohibited or affected by the Indiana Self Bonding Settlement.’…That directly interferes with SMCRA’s enforcement and ELPC’s statutory rights in the process. That OSMRE ‘has not objected’ to the Rule 9019 Motions is beside the point. It does not have to object.”

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