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Opinion
Liam Denning

Peabody's Death Throes Threaten Gas

If you're in the fossil-fuel business, ask not for whom the bell tolls.

King coal is dead. But he just might take a swipe at his mortal enemy -- natural gas -- on the way down.

Peabody Energy's crash into bankruptcy, taking down the largest private-sector coal miner in the world, represents a moment for the industry (or maybe just the latest in a series of moments). Two of them came last year, when U.S. power plants running on natural gas were used more than coal-fired plants for the first time ever and when Paris happened to host a global conference that was generally down on the whole idea of burning black rocks.