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WV House calls on Patriot Coal to fund benefits

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — West Virginia's House of Delegates wants Patriot Coal to honors its promises to around 20,000 retired miners and dependents.

The House voted 93-4 for a non-binding measure Monday targeting that company as well as Peabody Coal and Arch Coal.

Patriot is in bankruptcy and says its retiree health liability has ballooned to $1.6 billion. It has proposed funding around $300 million of those benefits through a trust.

The United Mine Workers union is protesting Patriot's plan. The union alleges Peabody and Arch set up Patriot to fail by spinning off or selling mines to shed pension and health care benefits.

Four Republicans voted against Monday's resolution. They include Delegate Troy Andes, an official with coal operator Alpha Natural Resources, and Delegate John McCuskey. His law firm represents Patriot.

 

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