Environmental Quality Council Ends Hearing Discussing Brook Mine's Permit Application

Jun 14, 2017

EQC Hearing at the Game and Fish Department in Cheyenne
Credit Cooper McKim

A hearing that will decide the fate of Wyoming’s first potential new coal mine in decades has come to an end. Ramaco’s Brook Mine would be built in Sheridan in the Tongue River Valley.

The Environmental Quality Council, or EQC, heard seven days of testimony from landowners, geologists, and regulators. A central question during the hearing was how the mine would affect water sources in the area. There was a coal mine in the area several decades ago that caused many wells to be drawn down.

Now there are 357 water wells that could be potentially affected as well as land where alfalfa is grown. 

Mary Fisher lives in Sheridan near where the Brook Mine would be built. She said there’s still too little information about how the mine would affect those areas. 

“What happens if damage is done that cannot be repaired?” Fisher asked. “It seems to me that there should’ve been a pro-active approach rather than a reactive one. This is too important of an area and too historic of an area.”

Jeff Pope was the lawyer representing Brook Mine. He said the company's permit application does provide enough hydrologic information. 

He said, “Our point to the council along has been the years of work that went into the permit application before we reached this point has been sufficient to address the concerns.”

The EQC will make a recommendation to the Department of Environmental Quality in the first week of August to decide whether or not to grant a permit.