The real winner of President Barack Obama’s so-called “war on coal” isn’t the EPA, nor is it the natural gas industry. It’s liberal billionaire George Soros.
Last week, Obama’s EPA announced sweeping regulations for U.S. power plants, forcing them to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. The news sent shockwaves through the coal industry, sending stocks tumbling and forcing the industry’s two biggest players to consider bankruptcy filings.
That’s where liberal billionaire Soros steps in. In the days after the Clean Power Plan was announced, Soros bought more than 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal — the country’s two biggest publicly-traded coal companies.
Both Peabody and Arch Coal “have seen their market values plummet” due to “competition from cheap natural gas, new environmental regulations and a slowing export market,” according to SNL Financial. Soros was able to pick up these coal stocks on the cheap, in part, due to Obama administration regulations targeting coal-fired power plants and coal mines.
Soros, the 29th richest person in the world, has been a major funder of liberal causes in the country. In 2009, he pledged to spend $1 billion of his own money backing green energy, and he also put funding behind the Climate Policy Initiative think tank, according to The Guardian.
Most importantly, however, is that Soros has been a major financial backer of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton through his super PAC Priorities USA Action. The financial ties between Soros and Democrats has some right-leaning commenters speculating about what all this means.
“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,” wrote Steve Milloy, an energy expert who runs the blog JunkScience.com.
It’s true that Soros’ coal buy only represented a small portion of his personal wealth and of each company’s available stocks. This could mean that Soros is looking to make some quick cash off a rebound in global coal prices as international demand for the fuel grows. But Milloy thinks that’s unlikely.
“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,” Milloy added. “I doubt the shrewd Soros is looking to make just a few million dollars on these investments.”