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Other Employee Benefits
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2011
OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS: [Abstract]  
Compensation and Employee Benefit Plans [Text Block]
NOTE 17—OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS:
UMWA 1974 Pension Trust:
Certain subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy also participate in a defined benefit multi-employer pension plan (1974 Pension Trust EIN 52-1050282/002) negotiated with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and contained in the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement (NBCWA). The 1974 Pension Trust is overseen by a board of trustees, consisting of two union-appointed trustees and two employer-appointed trustees. The trustees' responsibilities include selection of the plan's investment policy, asset allocation, individual investment of plan assets and the administration of the plan. The benefits provided by the 1974 Pension Trust to the participating employees are determined based on age and years of service at retirement. The current 2011 NBCWA will expire on December 31, 2016 and calls for contribution amounts to be paid into the multi-employer 1974 Pension Trust based principally on hours worked by UMWA-represented employees. The required contribution called for by the current NBCWA for the period beginning January 1, 2012 and ending December 31, 2016 is $5.50 per hour worked. For the plan year ended June 30, 2011, approximately 18% of retirees and surviving spouses receiving benefits from the 1974 Pension Trust last worked at signatory subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy.
For the plan year ended June 30, 2011, approximately 28% of contributions made to the 1974 Pension Trust came from certain signatory subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy. Total contributions made by signatory subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy to the UMWA 1974 Pension Trust were $36,209, $31,591 and $25,620, for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. These multi-employer pension plan contributions are expensed as incurred. Total contributions for a year may differ from total expenses for the year due to the timing of actual contributions compared to the date of assessment. CONSOL Energy expects its signatory subsidiaries to contribute approximately $36,379 to the 1974 Pension Trust in 2012. Contributions to this multi-employer pension plan could increase as a result of future collective bargaining with the UMWA, a shrinking contribution base as a result of the insolvency of other coal companies who currently contribute to the 1974 Pension Trust, lower than expected returns on pension assets or other funding deficiencies. Contribution rates for the 1974 Pension Trust required beyond December 31, 2016, cannot be estimated at this time.

As of June 30, 2011, the most recent date for which information is available, the 1974 Pension Trust was underfunded. This determination was made in accordance with Employer Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) calculations, with a total actuarial asset value of $5,077,338 and a total actuarial accrued liability of $6,618,702, or a funded percentage of approximately 76.5%. On October 21, 2011, certain subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy received notice from the trustees of the 1974 Pension Trust stating that the plan is considered to be “seriously endangered” for the plan year beginning July 1, 2011. The Pension Protection Act (Pension Act) requires a funded percentage of 80% be maintained for this multi-employer pension plan, and if the plan is determined to have a funded percentage of less than 80% it will be deemed to be “endangered” or "seriously endangered", if the number of years to reach a projected funding deficiency equals 7 or less in addition to having a funded percentage of less than 80%, and if less than 65%, it will be deemed to be in “critical” status. The funded percentage certified by the actuary for the 1974 Pension Trust was determined to be 76.50% under the Pension Act.
Certain subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy face risks and uncertainties by participating in the 1974 Pension Trust. All assets contributed to the plan are pooled and available to provide benefits for all participants and beneficiaries. As a result, contributions made by signatory subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy benefit employees of other employers. If the 1974 Pension Trust fails to meet ERISA's minimum funding requirements or fails to develop and adopt a rehabilitation plan, a nondeductible excise tax of five percent of the accumulated funding deficiency may be imposed on an employer's contribution to this multi-employer pension plan. As a result of the 1974 Pension Trust's “seriously endangered” status, steps must be taken under the Pension Act to improve the funded status of the plan. As a result, the Pension Protection Act requires the 1974 Pension Trust to adopt a funding improvement plan no later than May 25, 2012, to improve the funded status of the plan, which may include increased contributions to the 1974 Pension Trust from employers in the future.  Because the 2011 NBCWA established our signatory subsidiaries contribution obligations through December 31, 2016, our signatory subsidiaries' contributions to the 1974 Pension Trust should not increase during the term of the NBCWA as a consequence of any funding improvement plan adopted by the 1974 Pension Trust to address the plan's seriously endangered status.

Under current law governing multi-employer defined benefit plans, if certain signatory subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy voluntarily withdraw from the 1974 Pension Trust, the currently underfunded multi-employer defined benefit plan would require the withdrawing subsidiaries to make payments to the plan which would approximate the proportionate share of the multiemployer plan's unfunded vested benefit liabilities at the time of the withdrawal. The 1974 Pension Trust uses a modified “rolling five” method for calculating an employer's share of the unfunded vested benefits, or the withdrawal liability, for a plan year. An employer would be obligated to pay its pro-rata share of the unfunded vested benefits based on the ratio of hours worked by the employer's employees during the previous five plan years for which contributions were due compared to the number of hours worked by all the employees of the employers from which contributions were due. The 1974 Pension Trust's unfunded vested benefits at June 30, 2011, the end of the latest plan year, were $4,288,252. CONSOL Energy's signatory subsidiaries' percentage of hours worked compared during the previous five plan years to the total hours worked by all plan participants during the same period was estimated to be approximately 28%. These factors result in an estimated withdrawal liability of approximately $1,196,946.
UMWA Benefit Trusts:
The Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992 (the Act) created two multi-employer benefit plans: (1) the United Mine Workers of America Combined Benefit Fund (the Combined Fund) into which the former UMWA Benefit Trusts were merged, and (2) the 1992 Benefit Fund. CONSOL Energy subsidiaries account for required contributions to these multi-employer trusts as expense when incurred.
 
The Combined Fund provides medical and death benefits for all beneficiaries of the former UMWA Benefit Trusts who were actually receiving benefits as of July 20, 1992. The 1992 Benefit Fund provides medical and death benefits to orphan UMWA-represented members eligible for retirement on February 1, 1993, and who actually retired between July 20, 1992 and September 30, 1994. The Act provides for the assignment of beneficiaries to former employers and the allocation of unassigned beneficiaries (referred to as orphans) to companies using a formula set forth in the Act. The Act requires that responsibility for funding the benefits to be paid to beneficiaries be assigned to their former signatory employers or related companies. This cost is recognized when contributions are assessed. Total contributions under the Act were $13,609, $19,904, and $22,646 for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. Based on available information at December 31, 2011, CONSOL Energy's obligation for the Act is estimated at approximately $183,651.
The UMWA 1993 Benefit Plan is a defined contribution plan that was created as the result of negotiations for the NBCWA of 1993. This plan provides health care benefits to orphan UMWA retirees who are not eligible to participate in the Combined Fund, the 1992 Benefit Fund, or whose last employer signed the 1993 or a later NBCWA and who subsequently goes out of business. Contributions to the trust under the 2011 labor agreement are $0.50 per hour worked by UMWA represented employees for the year ended December 31, 2011. Contributions to the trust under the 2007 agreement were $1.42 per hour worked by UMWA represented employees for the year ended December 31, 2010, comprised of a $0.50 per hour worked under the labor agreement and $0.92 per hour worked by UMWA represented employees under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (the 2006 Act). Contributions to the trust under the 2007 agreement were $1.44 per hour worked by UMWA represented employees for the year ended December 31, 2009, comprised of a $0.50 per hour worked under the labor agreement and $0.94 per hour worked by UMWA represented employees under the 2006 Act. Total contributions were $3,824, $9,086 and $8,968 for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Pursuant to the provisions of the 2006 Act and the 1992 Plan, CONSOL Energy is required to provide security in an amount based on the annual cost of providing health care benefits for all individuals receiving benefits from the 1992 Plan who are attributable to CONSOL Energy, plus all individuals receiving benefits from an individual employer plan maintained by CONSOL Energy who are entitled to receive such benefits. In accordance with the 2006 Act and the 1992 Plan, the outstanding letters of credit to secure our obligation were $67,349, $67,768, and $61,734 for years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. The 2011, 2010 and 2009 security amounts were based on the annual cost of providing health care benefits and included a reduction in the number of eligible employees.
At December 31, 2011, approximately 32% of CONSOL Energy's workforce was represented by the UMWA.
Equity Incentive Plans:
CONSOL Energy has an equity incentive plan that provides grants of stock-based awards to key employees and to non-employee directors. See Note 18–Stock Based Compensation for further discussion of CONSOL Energy's equity incentive plans.
On June 1, 2010, CONSOL Energy completed the acquisition of CNX Gas outstanding common stock pursuant to a tender offer followed by a short-form merger in which CNX Gas became a wholly owned subsidiary. As a result of this acquisition, CNX Gas no longer has its own independent equity incentive plan. Prior to the acquisition, the CNX Gas equity incentive plan consisted of the following components: stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units, performance awards, performance share units, cash awards and other stock-based awards. The total number of shares of CNX Gas common stock with respect to which awards could be granted under CNX Gas' plan was 2,500,000. CNX Gas stock-based compensation expense resulted in pre-tax expense of $2,766, $2,043 and $6,311 for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Long Term Incentive Compensation:
Prior to the acquisition of the minority interest in CNX Gas, CNX Gas had a long-term incentive program. This program allowed for the award of performance share units (PSUs). A PSU represents a contingent right to receive a cash payment, determined by reference to the value of one share of the Company's common stock at the program vesting date. The total number of units earned, if any, by a participant was based on the Company's total stock holder return relative to the stock holder return of a pre-determined peer group of companies. CNX Gas recognized compensation costs over the requisite service period. The basis of the compensation costs was re-valued quarterly. A credit to expense of approximately $1,434 was recognized during the year ended December 31, 2009 as a result of the decline in the value of the expected payout prior to the exchange transaction discussed below.
During the second quarter of 2009, CNX Gas recognized the effect of an exchange offer that allowed participants in the CNX Gas Long-Term Incentive Program to exchange their unvested performance share units for CONSOL Energy restricted stock units. The excess fair value of the replacement restricted stock units over the original performance stock units resulted in $2,738 of incremental restricted stock compensation expense being immediately recognized. As a result of the completed exchange offer there are no outstanding performance share units.
Investment Plan:
CONSOL Energy has an investment plan available to all domestic, non-represented employees. Effective January 1, 2006, the company contribution was 6% of base pay for all non-represented employees except for those employees of Fairmont Supply Company whose contribution remains a match of 50% of the first 12% of base pay contributed by the employee. Total payments and costs were $30,532, $27,221, and $24,353 for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Long-Term Disability:
CONSOL Energy has a Long-Term Disability Plan available to all eligible full-time salaried employees. The benefits for this plan are based on a percentage of monthly earnings, offset by all other income benefits available to the disabled.
 
 
For the Years Ended
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2011
 
2010
 
2009
Benefit Costs
 
$
6,439

 
$
3,294

 
$
3,642

Discount rate assumption used to determine net periodic benefit costs
 
4.04
%
 
4.72
%
 
5.92
%

Long-Term Disability related liabilities are included in Deferred Credits and Other Liabilities–Other and Other Accrued Liabilities and amounted to $35,638 and $36,233 at December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively.