Join Us on May 8th to Confront Peabody Coal
Some of us have been fighting Peabody Coal for decades, and others of us have begun in the last few weeks. Yet, as Peabody Coal continues its unabated attempts to harm Indigenous, rural and urban communities, to pass a corporate-interest legislative agenda and to push us to a world of unmanageable climate change, we are uniting to fight back. On May 8th, the date of Peabody’s shareholder meeting in St. Louis, we ask you to join us in an action of solidarity as we escalate to stop Peabody Coal.
This year marks the 40th year of Indigenous resistance by the Diné (Navajo) communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa, Arizona to forced relocation off of ancestral homelands due to Peabody Coal’s massive strip mining. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide. Diné (Navajo) resistors on Black Mesa are planning a one-week training camp starting May 16th to demand “not one more relocation” of Indigenous people by Peabody. In Rocky Branch, Illinois, the Justice for Rocky Branch campaign is fighting Peabody’s recent attempts to expand a large strip mine and take over Rocky Branch road as a mining road. The Justice for Rocky Branch campaign is using lawsuits, lobbying, and direct action to preserve and protect their rural community. Peabody has used intimidation to push some of the local community off their farmland. From Black Mesa to Rocky Branch, we demand not one more relocation at the hands of Peabody Coal.
On Black Mesa and in Rocky Branch, Peabody has used its financial power to influence our democracy and ensure continued profits. Starting in the 1970s, Peabody used lobbying and divide-and-conquer tactics to tamper with tribal relations between the Hopi and Diné land to create what is known as the “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute”. And now in St. Louis, where the company is headquartered, Peabody recently sued to keep the citizen-driven Take Back St. Louis initiative off the local ballot. The initiative would have corrected the city’s policy of giving Peabody tax breaks, like the $61 million of purchases Peabody got tax-free in 2010 that diverted $2 million away from the unaccredited St. Louis Public Schools.
Peabody is also working hard to subvert our democracy through its leadership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate legislative group, that is working aggressively to pass anti-immigrant, anti-democracy, anti-environment and anti-union legislation, as well as laws that target people of color like the infamous ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation and Voter ID requirements. Even as most corporations drop ALEC due to increased public scrutiny, Peabody is holding strong and showing its true colors.
And of course, as the world’s largest private-sector coal company, a coal company that denies global warming while building exports to China, a company that claims to work to solve “energy poverty” while clearly showing no regard for low-income and marginalized communities, we are fighting Peabody’s role in causing the climate crisis. Peabody is responsible for 0.86% of historical carbon dioxide emissions – and we demand they “keep it in the ground.”
We have been bolstered by Washington University Students Against Peabody who have highlighted our calls to action and are currently working to get the CEO of Peabody Greg Boyce removed from their Board of Trustees. Students are also demanding their Chancellor change the change of the Peabody-funded Consortium for “Clean Coal” Utilization and visit our communities, so that he understands how coal can never be “clean.”
So we ask that you join us for a national Stop Peabody day of action on May 8th, the day of the Peabody Shareholder’s Meeting. If you’re in or near St. Louis, please join us at the Peabody Shareholder’s meeting on May 8th. If you’re not able to come to St. Louis, we ask that you hold an action in solidarity with us. Please look at the list for a Peabody-related target near you and sign up to hold an action.
We believe that the time is right and overdue for an escalated campaign to confront the world’s largest private sector coal company, Peabody Coal, for its continued disregard for local communities, democracy and our climate. We are fighting for community self-determination, localized economies and jobs that do not harm people or the environment.
The Stop Peabody Coalition:
Danny Blackgoat, Big Mountain resident
Bahe Kéédiniihii Katenay, Big Mountain resident, translator for traditional Diné relocation resisters
Fern Benally, Black Mesa resident
Justice for Rocky Branch
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Take Back St. Louis
RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival)
WashU Students Against Peabody