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Industry News

Energy Companies Feel the Heat On Climate Change

LCG, September 19, 2007--A confederation of environmental activists, investors and the financial officers of ten states and New York City submitted a petition to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday that would require corporations to disclose risks related to climate change concerns.

The confederation includes the comptrollers of California, New York and New York City, the New York Attorney General, the chief financial officer of Florida, the pension funds of the California state government and teachers, the Environmental Defense, and Ceres, a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working to address climate change.

Last Friday, the New York Attorney General subpoenaed five energy companies to investigate if adequate information regarding financial risks related to climate change has been disclosed by the companies - AES Corporation, Dominion Resources, Dynegy, Peabody Energy Corporation, and Xcel. With the exception of Peabody, all of these companies have (or plan to have) significant investments in coal-fired power generation facilities.

In letters sent by the New York Attorney General to corporate executives at the five companies, the Attorney General states, "Regulation of greenhouse gas emissions on the state level, such as through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, will begin shortly in several states....Such regulation would likely add a significant cost to carbon-intensive coal generation." Furthermore, the letters state there are concerns that the companies have "failed to disclose material information about the increased climate risks" and possible financial impacts of climate change regulations. The Attorney General requested a response by October 9, 2007.

Peabody responded that the letter's claims of nondisclosure were inaccurate. "Peabody is happy to point out our clear disclosures regarding climate change and correct the letter's inaccuracies. For instance, the letter states that we don't have climate disclosure ... but in fact we do, in multiple places in our SEC filings on Form 10-K, annual report and social responsibility report. These are all available via Internet for anyone wanting to research the company."

Peabody further proclaimed, "The letter also includes the inaccurate claim that we currently operate power plants. As our investors understand, we are a minority partner in the proposed Prairie State Energy Campus in Southern Illinois and would own less than 10 percent."
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