- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

DUGGER, Ind. (AP) - The announcement that Peabody Energy Corp. is filing for bankruptcy has made residents nervous in the small western Indiana town of Dugger, where the company operates the Bear Run Mine.

The coal company announced Wednesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to an “unprecedented” industry downturn. The company said the bankruptcy filing is intended to reduce its debt, lower fixed charges and improve operating cash flow.

“This was a difficult decision, but it is the right path forward for Peabody,” company president and CEO Glenn Kellow said in a statement. “We begin today to build a highly successful global leader for tomorrow.”

Peabody Energy has told employees that operations should continue as normal at Bear Mine. Some residents warned that Dugger could become a ghost town if the mine closes.

“Who’s going to want to live here when you don’t have the jobs?” said Debbie Heaton, a Dugger resident for 60 years.

The economic consequences of a mine closure would be “devastating to Dugger,” said resident Peggy Marlow.

“It actually causes a depression in people, the families and individuals, because of how many years they’ve worked and how many mines are here.”

Another resident, Marlene Lux, told the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star (https://bit.ly/1Q9x6Ux ) that all 10 of the people she knows who work at Bear Run, including her nephew, are nervous about job security.

Bear Run, which opened in 2010, is the largest surface mine in the eastern U.S. It employs about 560 people who work around-the-clock shifts and contributes more than $165 million annually to the regional economy, according to the company’s website.

Recent economic trends, including an abundance of cheaper natural gas, are forcing some energy companies to abandon coal, according to Mike Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

“There’s nothing to boost the demand for coal,” Hicks said. “And if there’s nothing to boost the demand for coal, it’s hard to imagine prices will go back up.”

___

Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com


Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide