coal

As the demand for coal continues to decline in the U.S., two companies with mines in Montana and Wyoming are saving money by cutting worker benefits.

Ken Shipp/U.S. Department of Energy

Coal-fired power plants are closing down in unprecedented numbers, many of which are Wyoming coal customers. In June, President Trump took a step to change that. Taylor Kuykendall, a coal reporter with S&P Global Market Intelligence, gives context to the coal and nuclear plant subsidy introduced last June.

Revised Ramaco application
Liz Brimmer / Ramaco Carbon

Ramaco Carbon has submitted a revised permit to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The Environmental Quality Council (EQC), an independent review board, refused the company’s first permit last year to begin constructing the Brook Mine in Sheridan County. 

OTCMKTS: WLBAQ

In southwest Wyoming, the Kemmerer coal mine is the largest contributor of tax revenue to Lincoln County and a big employer. It's owned by Westmoreland Coal Company, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's one of the largest and oldest coal producers on the continent and some think it's another sign coal markets are not bouncing back, despite the Trump administration's efforts.

 

Calling it a matter of national security, the Trump administration wants to export coal to Asia through military bases along the West Coast. Companies are currently blocked from using ports in California and Washington State.

Westmoreland Coal

Westmoreland Coal Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. It operates in five states, including Wyoming, with a large mine near Kemmerer employing around 280 people. The company’s debt has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s lost nearly all of its share price value.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

A major U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy Tuesday morning.

Westmoreland Coal Company operates five mines in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. They employ more than a thousand people.

Delinquent mineral production taxes by county updated in July of this year
Powder River Basin Resource Council

Last Friday, legislators spent three and half hours hearing testimony and discussing improvements to the ad valorem tax system, one-time severance taxes paid to counties to fund local services and the state school system. 

Rawlins City Clerk

Last week, the city of Rawlins took a concrete stance no city or county in Wyoming yet has, and it might sound odd. They voted to not remove its funds from Bank of the West.

Most prevalent utility-scale electricity generation fuel by state, 2007 and 2017
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

In 2017, coal remained the most common fuel source by state percentage, leading in 18 states — a surprising fact given it’s fallen behind natural gas in overall generation across the country. A report from the Energy Information Administration shows the gap, but while coal holds a lead in state generation, the gap is slimming.

ACPIC Projected Revenue vs Operating Budget - from legislative presentation
The Advanced Carbon Collaborative Balanced Resources

Some state legislators are concerned about the market impacts of Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC), a non-profit center aimed to be a home for advanced carbon-related research at the Fort Union Industrial Park near Gillette. 

Tri-State’s coal fleet costs versus regional renewable energy benchmarks - within RMI report
Rocky Mountain Institute

An electric power cooperative could save over half a billion dollars by transitioning away from coal to renewables by 2030. That’s according to an independent analysis of the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association portfolio. The association, however, criticized the report as lacking in expertise.

Cooper McKim

It's a bright, cloudless day in Gillette, Wyoming as a long train passes by overflowing with coal. Huge, open-pit mines dot the perimeter of a light-blue coal-fired power plant. Inside, a turbine is making the building rumble with its constant hum of producing electricity. It's supplying power to the entire western grid.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

Bank of the West logo
BNP Paribas Bank of the West

Leaders across Wyoming are criticizing Bank of the West for its recent decision to stop doing business with coal, oil or gas companies — including financing coal mines or power plants, or engaging in activities to do with mineral exploration, distribution, or marketing. The bank has 23 branches in Wyoming.

Order delivered July 31st, 2018 from the US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division
US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division

A federal court is ordering the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reanalyze environmental and climate impacts of coal and oil and gas leasing in two field offices by fall of 2019. 

Breakdown of direct, indirect, and induced jobs per 100 new employees for wind, coal, and slaughterhouses
Patrick Manning, Matthew Halama, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services / Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

A new report outlining the status of Wyoming's economy and workforce shows slaughterhouses could create more indirect and induced jobs than wind and coal state lines employees.

Stephanie Joyce

Wyoming’s energy resources are famous in the U.S., but they also play a role internationally. Coal markets are doing better now than in the past several years partially thanks to increasing exports and international prices. Dr. Robert Ichord helps give a broad view on the future of coal, renewable energy and carbon capture technology. Dr. Ichord has been a leader in energy transformation and security for years within the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of Energy. 

Screenshot, taken from the Campbell County government’s website.


In the second hour of a fluorescent-lit Board of Commissioners meeting in Campbell County, Chairman Mark Christensen introduces "the long-awaited Alpha Natural Resource payment."

Deputy County Attorney Carol Seeger speaking in front of the Campbell County Commissions on the Alpha Bankruptcy
Campbell County

Earlier this month, Campbell County and Alpha Natural Resources have reached a settlement after a lengthy case over unpaid taxes. Alpha is one of the three major coal companies that went bankrupt between 2015 and 2016.

No Review Of Federal Coal Leasing Program, Following Court Case
Western Organization of Resource Councils

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided not to reassess the federal coal leasing program in a decision this week. 

Logo for Governors' Partnership on Carbon Capture
Matt Fry / Office of Governor Matt Mead

Montana and Wyoming’s Governors Steve Bullock and Matt Mead announced Tuesday the formation of a new group focused on supporting carbon capture policies and projects: the Governors' Partnership on Carbon Capture. While the two will lead the group, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Utah will also be involved.

Gavin Bade

The Trump administration has confirmed a proposed bailout to the coal and nuclear industries. A memo from the Department of Energy was leaked recently outlining the plan. It would force utilities to buy electricity and capacity from retiring coal and nuclear plants to keep them alive for two years. University of Richmond Law Professor Joel Eisen, who has written extensively on matters on administrative law, energy, and the electric grid, helps make sense of what the draft memo means.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

Screenshot of the leaked DOE memo obtained by Bloomberg last week
Gavin Bade

The Trump administration is planning to keep coal and nuclear-fueled power plants alive, according to a 41-page memo acquired by Bloomberg News. The plan would enable the federal government to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that were planning to retire. If the bailout becomes a reality, it will be the first of its kind.

Wyoming Energy Summit logo
Wyoming Business Report

Coal could soon be used to make affordable carbon nanomaterials for mass use. The sci-fi sounding production is already used for things like water-resistant coats, electronic displays, or even dyes and pigments. Though, for now, it’s developed with expensive oil or gas feedstocks.

Map of Westmoreland's assets from its 10K filing
Westmoreland Coal Company

The Western Organization of Resource Councils, WORC, believes a coal company that could soon face bankruptcy may not have sufficient funds to pay for mine clean-up costs. A spokeswoman for Westmoreland Coal Company said they are, however, in full compliance with bonding and reclamation regulations.

Integrated Test Center Facebook Page

The Integrated Test Center is open for business. The Gillette-based facility is aimed at research and testing new uses for carbon dioxide, say, as a building material, common fuel, or green concrete. Many hope the center will find new, profitable uses for coal — Governor Matt Mead is one of them. In a brief conversation, the Governor discussed his expectations for the project and the risks that come with it.

A U.S. district court judge has struck down the City of Oakland’s ban on transporting coal through a planned export terminal there.

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