On the Blogs: A ‘Wink and a Nod’ in Regulatory Allowance That Saw Coal as Too Big to Fail FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Patrick McGinley for TheConversation.com:A self-bonding corporation’s promise to reclaim is little more than an IOU backed by company assets.Companies reorganizing under federal bankruptcy laws will continue to mine and market coal, hoping to shed mountains of debt and eventually emerge from bankruptcy. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to obtain conventional surety bonds after they reorganize, or whether bankruptcy courts will direct the companies to use their remaining assets to partially fulfill their self-bonding obligations.One thing is clear, however. Against the backdrop of a century of coal company bankruptcies and attendant environmental damage, regulators ignored a looming coal market collapse with a wink and a nod. Properly administered, SMCRA’s reclamation bonding requirements should have required secure financial guarantees collectible upon bankruptcy.Unfortunately, coal regulators viewed America’s leading coal companies like Wall Street’s mismanaged banks – too big to fail. As a result, American taxpayers may have to pick up an enormous reclamation tab for coal producers.Full item: Will taxpayers foot the cleanup bill for bankrupt coal companies?
Sweden’s AP7 plans to introduce factor investing into its portfolio for the first time as part of a risk-reduction exercise.The national pension fund that provides the default option in Sweden’s Premium Pension System (PPM) will also lower the gearing on its equity portfolio.The SEK430bn (€41.4bn) pension fund said: “As a step in implementing the new strategic portfolio, which was decided in 2016, AP7 is now starting to invest in factor premiums.”The goal, it said, was to invest 10% of the fund in these strategies over the next few years. “At the same time, the normal level of leverage is being reduced to 25%,” it said. This is reduction from the previous normal level of 35%.However, the actual level of gearing was to be set even lower, at 15% percent, AP7 said, due to its previous assessment of market valuations.At the end of December, the pension fund’s actual level of gearing was around 25%, according to its 2017 annual report.Since 2010, a central part of AP7’s management strategy for its SEK396bn equity fund – which accounts for the vast majority of its overall assets – has been passive exposure to a global index with leverage of 50%. AP7’s default option pension product, known as AP7 Såfa, is a lifecycle fund combining AP7’s equity and bond funds.In 2015, AP7’s board opted to halve the actual level of gearing to 25% because stockmarket valuations were considered high. In December 2016, when presenting a new strategic portfolio to be implemented by 2020, it reduced the normal leverage to 35% from 50% in order to increase the room for manoeuvre associated with the change.The first step in introducing other risks then began in 2017, and involved increased exposure to emerging markets and private equity, AP7 said.The pension fund said the new management strategy was aimed, in particular, at reducing risk through diversification.“Another central part of the strategy is to systematically apply more dynamic risk-taking, where the fund’s overall risk level is adjusted to extreme market valuations,” it said.In February the pension fund put out a tender for advice on “active alpha” procurement, in part of its move to add risk-factor investments to its portfolio.
Designation as an American Viticulture Area would mean the Antelope Valley has unique topography and soil that can produce a unique grape, officials said. The four areas would be the Antelope Valley, Leona Valley, Acton and Agua Dulce area, plus the Tehachapi-Cummings Valley area. “Wine connoisseurs will buy wine for that extra distinction and nuance,” said Robert Woods, association spokesman and Leona Valley Winery technology director. Bob and Patty Souza, owners of Souza Family Vineyards in Tehachapi, where they grow grapes on four acres to make Primitivo Zinfandel wine, said they are excited about the tours. “We are thrilled they included us because we are sort of an outpost,” Bob Souza said. The Souzas said they are planning to add a wine-tasting room and establish a bed-and-breakfast this summer. The winegrowers association is a nonprofit organization that was formed last October to promote wine production and awareness about the industry in the greater Antelope Valley area. Membership is open to wineries, vineyards and wine enthusiasts. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Local vintners began replanting grapevines about 25 years ago, and the region now boasts five wineries, 33 vineyards and three tasting rooms. “People will stay at hotels, visiting areas and wine-tasting rooms,” Kilmer said. Kilmer said there will be four- and eight-hour tours, with the option of staying at a bed-and-breakfast inn that is planned at a winery in Tehachapi. Tour prices and information will be made available in May on the association’s Web site, www.avwinegrowers.org. Association officials also said they are applying to have four local areas federally designated as distinct wine-producing regions, which will increase the value of the grapes and local wine production. LANCASTER – The newly formed Antelope Valley Winegrowers Association will launch wine tours this summer to boost tourism, business and job growth, officials said Tuesday. The tours are scheduled to start in mid- to late June with the help of two limousine companies and will involve wineries and vineyards stretching from Agua Dulce to Tehachapi. “We have Napa to the north, and Temecula, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. We are in the middle,” said Chantel Kilmer, association president and marketing director of Cameo Vineyards. “How difficult would it be to stop on the way through?” During a news conference, organizers noted that the Antelope Valley has a long and rich history of wine-making that ended with Prohibition in the 1920s.