Coal Economics 101:
Sale Special! Limited Quantities Available! Deal of the Century! All of these slogans are normally associated with going-out-of-business sales, but they apply to the way our publicly owned coal is sold in the United States today.
The Gunvor Group recently purchased publicly owned coal in Montana for 15 cents per ton. One of the world’s largest trading companies, Gunvor is registered in Switzerland, though its principal owner is a Russian oil baron and one of the 185 richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine. When Gunvor purchased mining rights for the coal, it did so with a public announcement that most of the coal that was produced would be sent to Asian markets, which will pay more than $95 per ton. (Do the math: buy from US taxpayers at 15 cents per ton, sell in Asia for $95 a ton).
|Proposed mining permits in Four Corners provide for shipping coal to China.|
This is not an isolated incident. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing and evaluation arm in charge of safeguarding taxpayer dollars, prepared reports as early as 1983 highlighting the massive handouts given to large coal companies as public resources were consistently undersold.
be strong, be safe, Carlan