CJA NATIONAL CONVENING ACTION: 150 People Plus Two on Horseback March down Forsyth Blvd., Confront Giant Law Firm Armstrong Teasdale

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS

 

Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment, St. Louis, MO:

  • Kennard Williams, 314-825-1334kennard@organizemo.org  

  • Jeff Ordower, (314) 267-4664Jeff@organizemo.org

Climate Justice Alliance / Our Power Campaign, National:

  • Michael Leon Guerrero, (505) 263 4982 [Mountain] michael@ourpowercampaign.org



Activists call “Humans not Hedge Funds” to confront St Louis ‘big coal’ powers

150 People Plus Two on Horseback March down Forsyth Blvd., Confront Giant Law Firm Armstrong Teasdale

(Photos available here.)



ST. LOUIS, MO, June 24, 2016 — Coal-harmed workers, families and allies from 50 groups across the country “knocked at the doors of power” in Peabody Energy’s headquarters city on Friday, June 24th. This will be the second national action in St. Louis led by residents demanding a “Just Transition Fund” instead of “business as usual” from the coal giant’s chapter 11 bankruptcy. Activists confronted Peabody’s Law Firm, Armstrong Teasdale, headquartered in Clayton, MO, which represents Peabody in its bankruptcy to escape accountability to workers and their polluted and economically devastated communities.

 

Led by Marshall Johnson and Sheldon Natoni, on horseback from To’Nizhoni Ani and Black Mesa Water Coalition respectively, 150 marchers left from Shaw Park and immediately took the westbound lanes on Forsyth, marching East to the Armstrong Teasdale Headquarters.  At Armstrong Teasdale, the law firm representing Peabody, speakers made their issues known with the bankruptcy.

 

“This Peabody bankruptcy has national impact, but the political and legal infrastructure making it happen is right here in the St Louis area,” pointed out city resident and MORE member, Nay’Chelle Harris. “It’s people like Attorneys Ehlers and Cousins of Armstrong Teasdale who are acting to ensure payouts go to hedge funds and Peabody executives instead of communities. They’re part of the machinery stranding workers and families harmed by Peabody’s dig-burn-dump business practices.” Community leaders have mapped out the St. Louis  “infrastructure of injustice” in this interactive web site.

 

Jihan Gearon of Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) / Our Power Campaign added, “There’s a better solution. Let this be the first corporate bankruptcy to fund both obligations to workers and communities, and a visionary “Just Transition” away from this harmful extraction economy.”

 

A Peabody Energy bankruptcy settlement directed towards a “Just Transition Fund” instead of big investor and executive payouts will:

  • Fully fund promised Peabody and Patriot coal worker pensions and health care plans.

  • Put an immediate stop to the forcible relocation and harassment of Diné (Navajo) people in northern Arizona and provide full reparations for cultural genocide caused by Peabody.

  • Guarantee full funding for clean-up and full reclamation of all mined lands and polluted and depleted aquifers used by Peabody.

  • Prioritize payouts to stakeholders for communities negatively impacted by Peabody’s practices in areas left stranded in the bankruptcy – rather than big investors and executives.

  • Support communities as they transition from coal-based economies toward jobs and infrastructure based on community-owned renewable energy and local self-sufficiency.

  • Support health care funds for pollution-fouled communities in and adjacent to mining and coal-processing areas.

“We’re through with that dirty, old game,” asserts St. Louis resident Basmin Nadra from MORE, “where a big coal company uses powerful local institutions and people to prop itself up. We won’t sit quiet while the legal system protects the interests of a wealthy few over the well-being of our families. We call on everyone who thinks that’s wrong to join us in demanding a better outcome. It’s time for us to recognize we are all connected in these concerns. This is an opportunity to set new precedents.”

 

To that end, St. Louis resident Connie Wess talked about courtwatching, where community members have entering the bankruptcy proceedings and bearing witness to trickery such as the Judge Schermer approving bonuses to 42 of Peabody’s top executives while not guaranteeing that healthcare and pension for workers would continue to be paid out.  Residents have also been giving out hardcopies of Peabody’s bankruptcy map.

 

###

Spokespeople available for comment, interview

 

Photos available here.

This press release also available at ourpowercampaign.org/press-release-peabody-payup-action

Resources

PETITION: bit.ly/payuppeabody

PRESS: bit.ly/BTUmedia

DEMANDS: bit.ly/submit_demands

SPOKESPERSON STATEMENTS: bit.ly/BTUstatements

ABOUT POWER BEHIND THE POLICE: powerbehindthepolice.com

ACTION FACEBOOK EVENT: http://bit.ly/humansnotHF

 

Organizations Represented at Action

Alliance for Appalachia

Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE)

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Black Mesa Water Coalition

Catskill Mountainkeeper

Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)

Center for Story-based Strategy

Chicago Jobs with Justice

Climate Justice Alliance

Communities for a Better Environment

Cooperation Jackson

Divestment Student Network

East Michigan Environmental Action Council

Energy Justice Network

Environmental Justice League of RI

The FANG Collective

GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Grassroots Global Justice

Grassroots International

Green For All

Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy

Indigenous Environmental Network

Institute for Policy Studies

Ironbound Community Corporation

Haitian Platform for an Alternative Development (PADDA)

Just Transition Alliance

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Labor Network for Sustainability

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

Native Women's Care Circle

Movement Generation

Movement Strategy Center

NAACP

National Family Farm Coalition (member, US Food Sovereignty Alliance)

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson/Right to the City Alliance

NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

PeoplesAction

PODER

Right to the City

Solidarity Economy St. Louis

Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE)

Southwest Workers Union

SWOP

The Ruckus Society

UPROSE

US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)

 

Chloe Henson
About Chloe Henson
@unm alum, working at @cjaourpower

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