• Uncle Warren, You Have A Conflict

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by Gilbert B Norman
https://www.wsj.com/business/energy-oil ... _permalink

While Uncle Warren's 1:1 Lionel set, does not serve West Virginia, backing this enterprise that will reduce coal usage certainly appears to be what I would call a conflict of interest, as BNSF still handles plenty of the remaining "Black Gold", or I guess if you are on the other side, "pollutants".

Fair Use:
RAVENSWOOD, W.Va.—No state is more reliant on coal for electricity than West Virginia. Yet a clean-energy industrial project rising on the banks of the Ohio River is challenging coal’s stranglehold on the Mountain State.

Behind the project: Warren Buffett and state Republican lawmakers. It’s a surprising base of support in a region where political power and wealth has long derived from coal mining.

Two of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B 0.63%increase; green up pointing triangle companies are teaming up to build a manufacturing hub that will include a $500 million factory to produce titanium for aircraft parts. It will be powered by solar panels and rechargeable batteries. The Buffett name and the promise of 300 jobs helped the companies overcome resistance in a state where coal provides more than 90% of the electricity.
I'm probably not the environmentalist I should be, but I hold "America has more coal than the Arabs have oil; let's dig it!!!" - and there are six Class I's ready to haul it :-D
  by eolesen
Hardly a conflict of interest to be focused on controlling energy costs... and the less coal that's burned for domestic energy is bound to wind up in Uncle Warren's rail cars for export to the countries who haven't bought into feel-good policies like banning coal plants.

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  by RandallW
If I recall correctly, West Virginia coal does not burn as cleanly as Wyoming coal, so it would be preferable, from a local air quality perspective (you should see some of the pictures of Pittsburgh and St Louis smog in the 40s to understand why that matters regardless of your attitude towards climate change), to transition plants that burn WV coal to burn WY coal (i.e., it benefits BNSF for WV coal production to be replaced with WY coal since BNSF originates WY coal loads).

It's also not a conflict for one company in a private equity portfolio to choose to be maximally profitable by not relying on another company in that same portfolio -- it would be more of a conflict to try to make two companies in a portfolio leverage each other instead of maximizing their own independent values (after all BRK is in the business of buying and selling independently run companies, not in the business of building unmanageable conglomerates).