coal

2017 990 Form
Energy and Policy Institute

3/27: The story has been updated to include Randy Eminger's voice - the executive director of the Energy Policy Network

An investigation published in the Colorado Sun called attention to a connection between the state of Wyoming and an organization that fought against the early closure of two coal-fired generating units in Colorado without disclosing its backing.

KIEWIT

The Buckskin Mining Company laid off 60 employees across all departments ahead of schedule this week. Kiewit Corporation, the Omaha, Nebraska-based owner of the coal mine, announced March 12 to expect around 50 lay-offs due to a production decline in 2020. A public release anticipated that lay-off date to come in early April. 

Coal seam at Peabody's North Antelope Rochelle Mine
Peabody Energy

This is a developing story.

Coal companies with mines in Wyoming are making adjustments as COVID-19 increases its spread worldwide. Wyoming has 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 thus far with patients in Sheridan and Fremont Counties.

Peabody Energy

Peabody's three Wyoming mines are all still in operation. Charlene Murdock, director of corporate communications for Peabody Energy, said they are following the advice from government authorities to manage the spread of COVID-19.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature wrapped up its work this week with concerns about the future. A downturn in oil prices and worries about a drop in investment income has lawmakers thinking that they may need to make some difficult decisions in the not-too-distant future.

www.nrel.gov

There were only six bills centered on renewables this session, but you'd be forgiven to think there were many more. Even when it wasn't the topic of conversation, renewables were on lawmaker's minds.

A few of the changes in an amendment adopted by the Senate
Legislative Service Office

An amended bill to move ad valorem tax payments from an 18-month to a monthly schedule has passed its first hurdle on the Senate floor.

Ad valorem taxes are a property tax paid to counties from mineral companies. Wyoming is currently missing out on about $130 million in delinquent ad valorem taxes, according to the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. 

NARM Map
Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy laid off 50 temporary employees who worked at the North Antelope Rochelle mine (NARM) in southern Campbell County on Thursday, the company confirmed.

"We routinely match staffing levels with production needs and the reduction in temporary workers is consistent with that approach," wrote Charlene Murdock, Peabody director of corporate communications.

Part of the land where the proposed Brook Mine may be dug
Cooper McKim

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has deemed a mine permit application technically complete for the second time. It's a step towards Ramaco Carbon mining between 2 and 5 million tons of thermal coal near Sheridan.

In 2017, the DEQ also signed off at this stage for Ramaco's proposed Brook Mine, but issues arose from nearby landowners, a coal company with conflicting rights, and a landowners' advocacy group. The controversy resulted in a contested-case hearing in front of the independent review board, the Environmental Quality Council (EQC).

Combined coal mine assets
Wyoming Public Radio

This is a developing story.

The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint challenging the proposed joint venture between Peabody Energy Corporation and Arch Coal. The federal agency has filed a preliminary injunction for the two companies to maintain the status quo pending a trial in August. In other words, the two companies will keep operations separate for now.

The proposed site for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Washington State. Wyoming has pushed to open a port in the U.S. with distance from a port in Canada
Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

The House Revenue Committee went back and forth over a bill that looks to incentivize coal exports, voting 5 to 3 to move the bill forward.

House Bill 231, Coal Severance Tax Exemption - Canadian and Mexican Ports, is one of three bills with the goal of boosting exports this session along with the Wyoming Coal Marketing Program and Exportation of mineral resources. Both look to appropriate funds to expand Wyoming's coal markets. The former has already passed out of the House.

Cooper McKim

The House Revenue Committee sat down on an early Wednesday morning to a full audience. Chairman Dan Zwonitzer, who represents Cheyenne, switched seats in order to testify on a bill called "Reliable and Dispatchable Low-Carbon Energy Standards."

The Dry Fork Station, a coal-fired power plant, sits next to the Integrated Test Center which aims to research and develop carbon capture technology
Cooper McKim

The House Revenue Committee heard testimony today on a bill that would require public utilities to provide a certain percentage of their generation from "dispatchable and reliable low-carbon electricity."

House Bill 200 describes "low-carbon" as electricity generated using carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology - a process that can store or reuse carbon dioxide. In Wyoming, that would mean utilities have an incentive to preserve coal-fired power plants by equipping new technology. They would have until July 1, 2030 to meet the standards.

Kristina Hufford

A new study published by researchers at the University of Wyoming could make mine cleanups less ecologically impactful. The scientists tested something called geomorphic reclamation at two abandoned mine sites in Freemont County and just outside of Rock Springs, and compared the findings with traditional practices.

Blackjewel LLC Operations
Prime Clerk

The House Minerals, Business, and Economic Development Committee advanced one of two bills looking to help out-of-work coal miners receive unpaid wages.

Wind Farm in Medicine Bow, Wyoming
Tony Webster, Portland, OR

The House Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee moved forward on a bill that would allow coal mines to become a disposal site for decommissioned wind turbine parts if it's part of the company's reclamation plan.

The Cordero Rojo Mine - taken when Cloud Peak was still the operator
Cloud Peak Energy

Governor Mark Gordon and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company have agreed to a Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity. The move resolves a barrier for the Navajo Nation-owned corporation in acquiring its mining permits.

Back in October, NTEC paid the recently bankrupt coal company Cloud Peak Energy in order to assume operations of three mines: Cordero Rojo, Spring Creek, and Antelope.

Naughton Power Plant - one of Rocky Mountain Power's plants that's scheduled to close earlier than anticipated
Pacificorp

Last year, the Wyoming legislature passed a bill called "New opportunities for Wyoming coal fired generation" requiring any utility retiring a coal plant earlier than scheduled would make a good faith effort to find a buyer.

Through the interim, legislators have been putting together a bill that would lay the groundwork for that to happen.

Conceptual design of the iCam
Ramaco Carbon

Ramaco Carbon expects to open its Sheridan-based research park, iCAM, and associated campus early this summer. The Kentucky coal company wants to use the facility to research and develop new uses for Wyoming coal from rebar to car products.

Ramaco CEO Randy Atkins said iCAM will feature lab operations along with pilot facilities to work on new research and development. He said the scope of the project has actually grown.

Courtesy the Sweetwater County Historical Museum

The coal capital of the U.S. is taking a harder look at diversifying its economy. The city of Gillette and Campbell County are being forced to adjust to a world with less demand for its resource. But a former coal capital could help provide wisdom.

Wyoming State Geological Survey

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has released its annual energy summary reports. They focus on the state of coal, oil, and natural gas.

Blackjewel's Eagle Butte mine shipments in 2017
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Judge Frank W. Volk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia delayed a decision over records access into the former President and CEO of Blackjewel LLC Jeff Hoops and affiliated parties.

On January 9, the bankrupt coal company requested access to a wide variety of material pertaining to Hoops, his family and related entities to be used as evidence. Those materials include pre-bankruptcy cash and property transfers

The proposed site is the former Alcoa/Reynolds aluminum plant adjacent to the Columbia River in Longview, downstream from the current Weyerhaeuser lumber mill.
Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

Wyoming and Montana are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene over Washington's decision on the Millennium Bulk Terminal. The states announced today they have filed a joint motion to challenge what they call "Washington State's unconstitutional discrimination against a proposed coal export terminal."

"Right now, we believe this is our sole remedy," said Wyoming's Attorney General Bridget Hill.

Stephanie Joyce

In a flurry of court filings last week, Blackjewel LLC and related entities sought permission to investigate the company's former CEO and President Jeff A. Hoops over what it called "a years-long effort by Mr. Hoops to transfer tens of millions of dollars of the Debtors' assets for his benefit and the benefit of his family and other Hoops-Related Entities."

First page screenshot of the 194 page updates
Council on Environmental Quality

The Trump Administration has proposed comprehensive updates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which oversees NEPA implementation, they would the biggest changes made in over 40 years.

NEPA, established in 1970, requires all federally-related developments to show what environmental impacts they will have. There are three types of reviews: Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments (EA), and Categorical Exclusions (CE).

Net US greenhouse gas emissions by sector
Rhodium Group

Preliminary data shows U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1 percent in 2019 following a spike in 2018.

A report put together by the Rhodium Group, an independent research provider, estimates emissions actually increased in nearly every sector except for the energy industry.

New division of an appropriations bill to be included in the final funding package
Congressional Research Service

A bill that would secure lifelong pension and healthcare benefits has been incorporated into the final funding package to keep the U.S. government open past Friday, December 20.

The Select Committee on Coal/Mineral Bankruptcies At Its Cheyenne Interim Meeting
Cooper McKim

Hours into a meeting of the Select Committee on Coal/Mineral Bankruptcies, Chairman Eric Barlow brought up a draft bill called "Protested Tax Payments." With little pause, Barlow welcomed in the day's regular testifiers.

An example of the itemized questioning by federal Judge Frank Volk of five group's expenses involved in the Blackjewel bankrutpcy
Prime Clerk

The federal judge overseeing Blackjewel's bankruptcy is disputing the "propriety and necessity" of noticeably high fees from attorneys and professionals.

In a court filing yesterday, Judge Frank Volk questioned restaurant, travel, and lodging expenses from five firms totaling $73,583. That included three law offices, a financial services group, and a research firm. It accounted for about 30 percent of the total expenses racked up by the groups in only four months since Blackjewel filed to reorganize.

 Comparison of Natural Gas Production and Price Forecasts.
Consensus Revenue Estimating Group

Natural gas producers in Wyoming are facing a dramatic new normal as prices drop and supply explodes. The state Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) report estimates natural gas production is falling at similar levels to coal projected to be down nearly 40 percent this year from 2009.

Naughton Power Plant; Rocky Mountain Power's coal-fired power plant looking at early unit closures
Pacificorp

Wyoming's Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee tabled a bill that would have changed how the Public Service Commission (PSC) oversees coal-fired power plants that are closing early. The bill considered requiring the PSC to consider socioeconomic factors, reliability impacts and any other information deemed necessary when looking at early retirement.

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