Executives Running Collapsing Coal Companies Award Themselves Millions While Laying Off Workers

Executives of the top coal-producing companies in the country got compensation increases while their companies spiraled into bankruptcy, laid off workers, or tried to slash employee benefits, a new report finds.

Most top executives for Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources got compensation increases worth in total millions of dollars as the companies went into massive debt often due to fruitless expansions.

As profits shrank, executives paid themselves more, laid off staff, and cut worker benefits. Public outcry over executives receiving multi-million compensation packages as business collapse has been a common recurrence in the past decade, particularly after the financial crisis of 2008. Then the spotlight fell on banks, which were awarding billions in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits despite the implosion or near-implosion of the companies. As happened then, it’s unlikely that executives will be asked to forgo any of the compensation.

Not only that, but with many of the largest coal companies in bankruptcy, they are not cleaning up after their messes. Montaintop removal mines are abandoned with tailings damaging water supplies, with large unrepaired scars cut into what were once beautiful mountains. American taxpayers are likely to have to pick up the bill for remediation work.

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