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May Day protesters take aim at Peabody tax policies

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)
Michelle Witthaus (right) was removed from Peabody Energy's stockholder meeting.

About 150 activists marched outside Peabody Energy’s annual stockholder meeting in downtown St. Louis today.

The protesters decried an unfair tax code that they say allows  the energy company to dodge paying its fair share of taxes. For instance, they say Peabody paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2008 and 2009; and $0 in state income taxes in 2010.

Peabody Energy's Corporate Communications Director Meg Gallagher says, however, the group’s numbers are inaccurate.

“I can’t explain where these protesters are getting their numbers," Gallagher said. "But, we’re a public company; all this is publicly filed. They seemed to be pulling that out of thin air. We paid $1.4 billion in taxes in 2011. We reported that.”

More than a dozen shareholders were removed from the meeting after voicing their opposition to the amount Peabody pays in taxes.

The protest is one of many May Day anti-corporate demonstrations taking place nationwide. 

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