coal

Arch Coal changed its name to Arch Resources earlier this year as part of its strategy to move away from Wyoming thermal coal
Arch Resources

A federal judge has ruled against a proposed joint venture between the two largest coal producers in the nation. District Judge Sarah Pitlyk found that consolidating seven of Arch Resources Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp's mines in the Powder River Basin and Colorado wouldn't bode well for the region's market.

The $1.3 million Rotary Kiln at CCTI's site in August provides the company an ability to supply processed coal feedstock to other businesses in the industrial park
Clean Coal Technologies, Inc.

Clean Coal Technologies, Inc. (CCTI) signed an agreement with a neighboring organization in Gillette, confirming the groups will cooperate down the line. The memorandum of understanding with Energy Capital Economic Development comes as CCTI leaders say the company is nearing commercialization.

Cooper McKim

Earlier this summer, organizations got together across Wyoming to give testimony about the largest utility in the state's controversial plan to make a shift away from coal and towards renewables.

Job Impact Analysis by Year from DOE-funded report on CCUS in Wyoming. It predicts nearly 20 additional years of jobs from its scenarios versus Pacificorp's baseline plan.
United States Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy

The governor's office has released a report it requested from the U.S. Department of Energy last year that explores alternative scenarios to Pacificorp's plan to retire several coal plant units early and transition to a heavier focus on renewables. The report considers the impacts of instead retrofitting the plants with carbon capture technology.

Below the Dry Fork Station is the Integrated Test Center where Carbon XPRIZE teams were expected to set up shop. CO2Concrete's shelter is located near the middle of the picture.
Cooper McKim

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition is nearing its finale, though with fewer teams on site than expected. The international carbon capture competition based in Gillette welcomed its second and last competitor to site this week after COVID-19 complications prevented all three other competitors from making the trek.

Hana Vizcarra

Several policies that affect the west and the energy landscape here are back in the news, including proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau of Land Management Waste Prevention Rule, and the Great American Outdoors Act.

On August 4, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. On July 29, three coalitions of environmental groups filed lawsuits challenging the final NEPA regulations. On July 29, the EPA made changes to how coal ash will be treated, including extending a deadline for discarding the waste in unlined ponds. On July 23, EPA the Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding hoping to boost production of uranium.

Hana Vizcarra, staff attorney at Harvard Law School's Environmental & Energy Law Program, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper Mckim about why so much action is happening right now.

Western Organization of Resource Councils

A new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow power plants to discard coal ash in unlined ponds through April of next year. In some cases, that deadline can be pushed back as far as 2028.

Navajo Transitional Energy Company

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) announced it will be hiring back 73 furloughed employees, who will be able to return to work at the Spring Creek Mine on August 3. The mine in southeastern Montana employs many Wyoming residents as well.

A unit of the Jim Bridger Power Plant in Sweetwater County, pictured here, could face a 2023 retirement date rather than 2028
The Center or Land Use Interpretation

The Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) has wrapped up its week-long hearing regarding its investigation into a western utility's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) released in October. The commission made no decisions or actions before adjourning other than setting a deadline for additional briefs.

Sightline Institute

In early July, reports surfaced that Japan could shutter up to 100 of its oldest coal plants. Shortly after, Trade Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama confirmed that the country was in the process of developing a "concrete framework" for closing down inefficient plants — though he didn't mention a specific number.

Expected coal retirements based on Pacificorp's 2019 IRP preferred portfolio
Pacificorp

The Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) has begun a week-long hearing regarding its investigation into a western utility's 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) released in October, 2019.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality


Anton Bocek lives on his 80-acre ranch where he deals in hay and cattle near Sheridan. His family has lived there for 42 years. It's the closest property to Ramaco's newly-approved Brook Mine.

NASA

The two largest American coal producers have pushed back against the Federal Trade Commission's claim that a proposed merger would cause "anticompetitive harm" to the Powder River Basin. This latest filing comes after months of review in a Missouri federal court.

Part of Brook Mine Location
Cooper McKim

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved a long-discussed — and revised —coal mine permit application.

Nanocomposite plastics used in flexible displays, specialty plastics and 3D printing polymers
National Energy Technology Laboratory

The Department of Energy has announced it plans to provide $122 million in funding for the manufacturing of coal-based products. The announcement called for the establishment of "coal products innovation centers" in major basins across the country, including Appalachia and the Powder River Basin.

Eagle Butte mine post-bankrutpcy
Cooper McKim

Employees at the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines came to work as usual on a Monday, July 1, 2019-a year ago today. Soon after arriving, miners were shepherded into a room and told the company would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

All photos credit to Brittany Patterson, Ohio Valley ReSource

On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background - nature's version of a white noise machine.

Alan Nash

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and United Steelworkers are now demanding emergency guidelines related to COVID-19 for the country's mines whether it's for coal, trona, gold or silver. They say voluntary guidance is not a substitute for mandatory and legally enforceable COVID-19 protocols.

Ramaco

Ramaco Carbon has long sought to develop a complex in Wyoming involving the manufacturing, development, and mining of coal. Permit and transparency issues though have caused the company to face pushback and delays.

NTEC's Antelope Mine - operated by Cloud Peak Energy at the time of the photo
Cloud Peak Energy

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) has laid off eight salaried employees and furloughed 93 hourly employees at its Antelope Mine. The move comes about a month after the company laid off 130 employees between its Spring Creek, in southern Montana, and Antelope mines.

The new homepage for Arch Resources
Arch Resources

On May 15, Arch Coal officially changed its name to Arch Resources, Inc, in conjunction with the launch of its new website. The two moves are part of a larger shift in Arch's focus away from thermal coal.

From Brook Mine Revised Permit Application: Extent of declared alluvial valley floors (AVFs) at and adjacent to the proposed Brook Mine in the upper Tongue River Basin, Wyoming.
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held an informal conference Wednesday to hear comments and objections to a revised permit application from Brook Mining Co., LLC, a subsidiary of Ramaco Carbon. The company hopes to mine thermal coal and then research, develop and manufacture products using it as the feedstock.

In the past decade, the Decker Coal Mine sent its coal to several locations around the country. Since 2015, though, it's primary customer has been a Minnesota coal-fired power plant
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The past few months, COVID-19 has taken its toll on employment in the Powder River Basin. Weak market conditions have struck again with a new round of furloughs at the Decker Coal Mine just north of the Wyoming border in Montana.

BNSF Subdivision Map in Wyoming
BNSF Railway

BNSF Railway announced this week it will close two facilities in Wyoming and lay off the related employees within the next two months. The Guernsey shop is set to close on July 7, 2020 laying off 92 people; the Donkey Creek facility in Rozet is set to close on June 5, 2020 laying off 38 people.

Every state is wrestling with the tension between reopening economies and protecting communities from COVID-19. Some industries have remained open all along. There are the obvious ones, like grocery stores and hospitals. Then there are others, like mining.

Public Domain

Recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis interpreted by The Wall Street Journal show the downturn in the energy sector is affecting Mountain West states very differently.

An announcement posted at one of Arch's PRB mines submitted to Wyoming Public Radio
Anonymous

As other Powder River Basin (PRB) coal companies lay off miners by the hundred, Arch Coal, operator of the Coal Creek and Black Thunder mines, is asking its Wyoming employees to volunteer for unpaid leave without benefits.

NTEC's Antelope Mine - operated by Cloud Peak Energy at the time of the photo
Cloud Peak Energy

Two coal companies with mines in the Powder River Basin (PRB) announced lay-offs today in Peabody Energy and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC).

Since the coronavirus hit the U.S., coal mines across the country have begun shutting down, laying off workers and slowing production.

Diesel fuel cars at a trainyard in Morrill.
Alan Nash


A long-time coal miner in the Powder River Basin said he worries his employer is not taking the risks of COVID-19 seriously despite instituting safety guidelines. Joe Phillips, not his real name, does not feel safe at work. He requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation.

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