Recent Updates

         The last time we went to court with Peabody, St. Louis Judge Dierker granted the corporation a temporary restraining order, thereby keeping the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative off of the April 8th ballot and keeping St. Louis’ tax dollars in the hands of the environmentally destructive and socially toxic coal giant. On March 31st we will face Peabody in court again. 

Take Back St. Louis Calls on Mayor Slay to Be the People’s Valentine, Not Peabody’s

Mayor’s Office Worked with Peabody to Block Citizen-Driven Ballot Initiative from April Vote


In honor of Valentine’s Day, about 40 St. Louis residents visited city hall and delivered Valentine’s Day cards to Mayor Slay, asking him to “break up” with Peabody Energy and other downtown businesses like Laclede Gas and Bank of America. The residents represent the Take Back St. Louis coalition and were calling out Mayor Slay for siding with Peabody Energy lawyer’s instead of city residents at last week’s hearing.

Last Tuesday, St. Louis Judge Dierker ruled to uphold a temporary restraining order to stop the Take Back St. Louis initiative from going on the April 8th ballot. During the hearing, Rodney Crimm and Mary Ellen Ponder, both representatives from the Mayor’s office, testified for Peabody’s lawyers. The final injunction hearing is scheduled for March 31.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2014

Contact: Arielle Klagsbrun, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), 617 869 8345, 

St. Louis Judge Sides with Peabody Coal to Block Citizens’ Ballot Initiative to End Corporate Welfare to Fossil Fuels

Among Judge’s Claims is Citizens United Gives Fossil Fuels Equal Protection Under Constitution

ST. LOUIS -- Yesterday, Judge Robert Dierker sided with Peabody Coal’s lawyers to grant a temporary restraining order to keep a citizen-driven ballot initiative to end tax breaks to fossil fuel companies off the April 8, 2014 ballot. He set a hearing date on the permanent injunction for March 31, 2014.

The judge declared that the initiative was “facially unconstitutional” because there were some conflicts with state law and because banning tax breaks to unsustainable energy producers is a “patent denial of equal protection to those entities.” He went on to say, “business entities (which, after all, are a species of associations of citizens coming together in the exercise of economic freedom) are entitled to constitutional protection as citizens and may not arbitrarily be denied basic legal rights. See Citizens United v. Federal Election...

Take Back St. Louis Statement on the Peabody/Patriot Coal Slurry Spill

This afternoon, 100,000 gallons of coal slurry spilled from the Kanawha Eagle mining facility in streams in southern West Virginia. Kanawha Eagle was owned by St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, and was sold off to St. Louis-based Patriot Coal in 2007. The Take Back St. Louis initiative, which will be before city voters on April 8th, would end tax breaks to coal extraction companies and those financing them. Molly Gott with the Take Back St. Louis campaign had this statement:

This coal slurry spill is just the latest coal-related disaster to hit Appalachia; many are still suffering from the coal-washing chemical spill just a month ago. Companies like Patriot and Peabody headquartered St. Louis everyday cause harm in the communities where they mine. We have put forth the Take Back St. Louis initiative because companies like Patriot and Peabody should not be subsidized by the City of St. Louis to pollute people’s drinking water, bankrupt retired mineworkers and cause climate change. On April 8th, St. Louis city voters will get to choose -- will we invest in a local green economy or will we continue to support businesses...


Take Back St. Louis Statement on Today’s Hearing on Initiative

Today, attorneys from Stinson Leonard Street, a law firm that does significant lobbying for Peabody Coal, asked Judge Dierker to issue an injunction on the Board of Elections and City of St. Louis regarding the Take Back St. Louis initiative that will be on the ballot for city voters April 8, 2014. Reginald Rounds with the Take Back St. Louis campaign issued the following response:

Today we saw Peabody’s attorneys attempt to politic in the courts instead of making their case to city voters. We collected over 21,000 valid signatures of registered St. Louis voters who want a chance to vote on the Take Back St. Louis proposition. The ability of citizens to petition our local  government is integral to the democratic process. We will not let Peabody Coal’s lawyers stop our local democratic process. It was alarming and upsetting to see Rodney Crim and Mary Ellen Ponder, officials from the elected Mayor’s Office, side with corporations that are attempting to rob citizens of their right to petition their government, as well as attempt to invalidate the hard work...

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