Berkshire Hathaway

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffett's company. Berkshire Hathaway owns a wide range of subsidiary companies, including Fruit of the Loom (T-shirt and underwear manufacturer), Geico automobile insurance, See's Candies, Johns Mansville and The Pampered Chef.[1]

In 1995, when the Wall Street Journal exposed how certain corporations were starting to investigate journalists' private lives and rank them on how favorably they write about companies, Charles Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway said, "Berkshire Hathaway hates the whole idea with a passion... Our attitude is that if you deserve good press, then in the long run, you'll get good press." Corporations named in the article as engaging in the practice included Microsoft, Philip Morris and McDonald's.[1]

Directors (2007) [2]

Directors (1999) [3]

Berkshire Hathaway and tobacco

Documents indicate that Philip Morris looked to Berkshire Hathaway as a model for ways to improve its corporate image with stockholders and the public. A pamphlet titled "Protecting and Enhancing Your Company's Reputation" (estimated date 2001) was found in the files of Elizabeth Culley, of Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Department, circa 2001.[4]. A 1992 memo from Nicholas Rolli of PM's financial department shows PM modeled its shareholder letters after Berkshire Hathaway's model, also considering those of General Electric, Sara Lee and Campbell.[5]

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Berkshire Hathaway and coal

Existing coal-fired power plants

As shown in this map, through its MidAmerican Energy subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway operated 11 coal plants in 2005 with 29 generating units and a total of 10,282 MW of capacity. Among chief executive officers of companies owning coal-fired generating capacity, Warren Buffett ranked sixth after the the CEOs of American Electric Power, Southern Company, Duke Energy, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Ameren.

<googlemap version="0.9" lat="44" lon="-101.837286" type="map" zoom="5"> 41.74, -108.785, Jim Bridger Steam Plant Click here for more information. 42.326658, -96.379203, George Neal Station North Click here for more information. 39.1667, -111.0261, Hunter Power Plan Click here for more information. 39.378222, -111.079722, Huntington Power Plant Click here for more information. 41.185592, -95.842112, Council Bluffs Energy Center Click here for more information. 42.839239, -105.777984, Dave Johnston Power Plant Click here for more information. 41.48381, -90.82007, Louisa Generating Station Click here for more information. 41.757232, -110.597654, Naughton Power Plant Click here for more information. 44.288754, -105.384951, Wyodak Power Plant Click here for more information. 39.727222, -110.863333, Carbon Power Plant Click here for more information. 41.54075, -90.451074, Riverside Generating Station (Iowa) Click here for more information. </googlemap>

Here is a list of MidAmerican's coal power plants:[6][7][8]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity 2007 CO2 Emissions 2006 SO2 Emissions
Jim Bridger WY Sweetwater 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979 2318 MW 16,500,000 tons 20,055 tons
George Neal IA Woodbury 1964, 1972, 1975, 1979 1686 MW 5,974,000 tons 37,979 tons
Hunter UT Emery 1978, 1980, 1983 1472 MW 10,600,000 tons 7,338 tons
Huntington UT Emery 1974, 1977 996 MW 6,170,000 tons 17,405 tons
Council Bluffs IA Pottawattamie 1954, 1958, 1978 856 MW 6,010,000 tons 17,523 tons
Dave Johnston WY Converse 1959, 1961, 1964, 1972 817 MW 6,959,000 tons 22,351 tons
Louisa IA Louisa 1983 738 MW 5,340,000 tons 15,937 tons
Naughton WY Lincoln 1963, 1968, 1971 707 MW 5,778,000 tons 20,664 tons
Wyodak WY Campbell 1978 362 MW 3,475,000 tons 6,514 tons
Carbon UT Carbon 1954, 1957 189 MW 1,243,000 tons 6,121 tons
Riverside IA Scott 1949, 1961 141 MW 981,000 tons 5,275 tons

In 2006, MidAmerican's 11 coal-fired power plants emitted 69.0 million tons of CO2 (1.15% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and 177,000 tons of SO2 (1.18% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).

Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4 is an operational coal plant near Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Missouri River that began operating in 2007. Berkshire Hathaway is the owner of MidAmerican Energy, which owns PacifiCorp. The two companies own 29 coal plants totalling 10,281 megawatts of capacity, making Berkshire Hathaway the sixth largest owner of coal capacity in the United States.[9]

Plant cancellations

In 2007, PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of his MidAmerican Energy, cancelled six proposed coal-fired power plants. These included Utah's Intermountain Power Project Unit 3, Jim Bridger Unit 5, and four proposed plants previously included in PacifiCorp's Integrated Resource Plan. The cancellations came in the wake of pressure from regulators and citizen groups, including a petition drive organized by Salt Lake City commercial real estate broker Alexander Lofft and directed at Buffett personally. The 1,600 petitioners, who described themselves in a letter to Buffett as "a collection of citizens, business owners and managers, service professionals, public servants, and organization representatives ... your friends and new customers here in Utah," explained that, in their view, any further expansion of coal generation in Utah would "compromise our health, obscure our viewsheds, shrink and contaminate our watersheds, and thin out our most beloved snowpack," concluding that "our attractiveness as a place to live and work is also threatened, and so is our economic competitiveness as a major metro area and a state, compromising our recent gains in income and property values."[10]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

Other resources


  1. Reverse Gotcha: Companies are paying big fees to get news about beat reporters Moss, M. Wall Street Journal. November 10, 1995. Philip Morris Bates No. 2046478057/8059
  2. Berkshire Hathaway, BusinessWeek, accessed December 9, 2007.
  3. Directors, Berkshire Hathaway, accessed December 9, 2007.
  4. [ Protecting and Enhancing Your Company's Reputation, Pamphlet by Berkshire Hathaway and PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Philip Morris collection, Bates No. 2085127335/7340, February 2001 (estimated date)
  5. 1992 Annual Report: Letter to Stockholders. Memorandum. Rolli NM. December 23, 1992. Philip Morris Bates No. 2024153788
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EIA
  7. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  8. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  9. Existing U.S. Coal Plants
  10. "The Education of Warren Buffett: Why did the guru cancel six coal plants?" Ted Nace, Gristmill, April 15, 2008

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