On Saturday Alpha Natural Resources announced that it had bought out the company in a deal worth $8.5 billion.
That’s a high price for the stock – metallurgical coal looks lucrative to short-sighted investors as the competing Australian coal industry took a huge hit from the recent flooding.
The paradox here is that the more coal that we burn, the more extreme weather events, such as floods, we’ll have to endure, and that’s a terrible long-term investment choice.
That’s why we’re calling on the finance industry to get out of the coal game. No reputable bank should have anything to do with a company like Massey, or a company like Alpha. Citi and Morgan Stanley, two banks that guaranteed money to Alpha for the deal, are failing their responsibility and need calling to account.
A Massey sell off has seemed inevitable for months, especially following the departure of the “Dark Lord of Coal Country” Don Blankenship in December.
It remains to be seen what this sale will mean for the people who live and work in the coal-producing communities, who for years have endured extreme environmental devastation and worker safety violations. At a glance, it’s not looking great: the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward has the lowdown about Alpha’s dubious safety record.
So, farewell, Massey, soon you’ll be gone, like the mountains and lives you’ve destroyed. And what a legacy you leave: from violently busting unions, to poisoning countless families’ drinking water, from blowing away Appalachia’s mountains, to the deadliest US coal mining disaster in 40 years. We’ll have no fond memories of you.