The New King Coal: George Soros

  • Date: 17/08/15
  • Steve Milloy, Breitbart

predicted in this column last week that the left wasn’t going to kill off the coal industry so much as it was going to steal it. That prediction is already becoming true courtesy of billionaire George Soros.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Act filings indicate that Soros has purchased an initial 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal, the two largest publicly traded U.S. coal companies. As pointed out last week, both companies have been driven perilously close to bankruptcy by the combination of President Obama’s “war on coal” and inexpensive natural gas brought on by the hydrofracturing revolution.

Under the hypothesis that not even socialists would leave trillions of dollars worth of a perfectly safe and clean energy source in the ground for the sake of the imaginary “climate crisis,” I posited that once the existing coal industry ownership was wiped out by President Obama’s regulatory onslaught, a new politically correct ownership would rehabilitate the fuel by contributing to Democrats.

Enter George Soros, a hardball investor and philanthropist to myriad left-wing causes, including the activist and “clean energy” rent-seeking movements that have helped take down the coal industry. In 2009, for example, Soros announced he would spend $1 billion in “clean energy” technology and create a San Francisco-based advocacy organization called the Climate Policy Initiative.

Less than a year ago the Soros’ Climate Policy Initiative issued a major report concluding that the world could save $1.8 trillion over the next two decades by transitioning awayfrom coal. The report referred to coal reserves as “stranded assets” that were losing value as they were no longer needed.

What a difference a few months makes, especially when those months have seen coal company stocks fall to fire sale prices. So far the size of Soros’ coal investment seems so far relatively small (Peabody has 248 million shares of stock outstanding), but the reports available only cover up to the quarter ending on June 30.

It’s possible that Soros is only looking for a “dead cat bounce” from his Peabody and Arch Coal investments, but the companies together have provable coal reserves of about 11 billion tons, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. I doubt the shrewd Soros is looking to make just a few million dollars on these investments.

Soros isn’t the only leftist shark in the water.

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