Indiana Society of Mining and Reclamation Honors Peabody Energy for Environmental Leadership in Midwest

Jan 04, 2010, 15:37 ET from Peabody Energy

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) today announced the company has earned dual honors from the Indiana Society of Mining and Reclamation. Peabody's Francisco Surface Mine in Gibson County, Ind., earned the 2009 Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award for exceptional environmental achievements. In addition, Peabody Environmental Specialist Allen Eicher was honored by his peers with the Vance "Pat" Wiram Award for a lifetime of innovative practices in land restoration. The honors were presented at the society's 23rd Annual Technology Transfer Seminar in Jasper, Ind.

"These honors reinforce the world-class environmental and good neighbor practices that set Peabody Energy apart," said Eric Ford, Peabody's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "A key principle of Peabody's mission is to 'leave the land in a condition equal to or better than we found it,' and our company is globally recognized for living this mission. Our team, alongside industry peers and community stakeholders, continues to demonstrate superior land restoration."

The Francisco Surface Mine team has established hundreds of acres of high-yield farmland, forest, pasture and wetland in southwestern Indiana. Achieving success was particularly challenging given the region's geology. Through the innovative use of global positioning satellite technology, the team was able to precisely restore every acre to meet or exceed a wide variety of pre-mining land uses. Projects ranged from creating ponds and streams to constructing a landing strip for the small aircraft of local landowners.

The mine's achievements include restoring non-prime cropland to prime standards and providing a haven for migratory wildlife through interconnected forested areas. To help reverse the decline of oak species in the Midwest, the mine increased the number of oaks it planted by 50 percent, and Francisco's forests are currently more biodiverse than many of the state's native woodlands. The mine also worked to enhance the safety of county roads.

The society also honored Allen Eicher for numerous environmental achievements spanning his three-decade career in the Midwest. Eicher led the seeding and planting of thousands of acres in Southern Indiana, including projects at the company's Dugger, Latta, Squaw Creek, Lynnville, Universal and Somerville Central operations. Eicher planted nearly 7 million trees and established vital habitat for the Copper Belly water snake at the Lynnville Mine, earning one of the U.S. Department of the Interior's highest honors, the 2006 National Award for Excellence in Surface Mining Reclamation. At Somerville Mine, Eicher pioneered wetland restoration methods and cooperated with forestry researchers at Purdue University to enhance tree growth. Eicher's efforts were recognized by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources with the 2007 Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award and by U.S. Interior with the 2008 National Award for Excellence in Surface Mining Reclamation. Eicher is among nearly a dozen Peabody employees individually recognized by state, regional and national authorities for environmental leadership.

Worldwide, Peabody earned more than a dozen awards for safety, stewardship and good neighbor practices in 2009, including three major honors from the U.S. Department of the Interior for environmental excellence and community outreach at operations in Wyoming, Indiana and Illinois.

Peabody has restored more than 3,700 acres companywide, planted more than 250,000 trees and recycled more than 19,000 tons of materials in 2009, while creating $14 billion in direct and implied economic benefits in communities around the world.

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company, with 2008 sales of 255 million tons and $6.6 billion in revenues. Its coal products fuel 10 percent of all U.S. electricity generation and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

    Meg Gallagher
    (314) 342-7963

SOURCE Peabody Energy