Kemmerer

Cooper McKim

Jim Bills stands under a carport at his white ranch-style home in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He's lived in Kemmerer for the past 40 years. He's worked at the Kemmerer coal mine as a truck driver, laborer and driller for 35 years, until he retired. The mine, along with the power plant it feeds, are central pieces of the local economy.

United Mine Workers of America logo
United Mine Workers of America

Retirees of the Kemmerer Coal Mine won't be getting their expected health-care benefits, but the United Mine Workers of America aren't giving up. 

Naughton Power Plant In Kemmerer, Wy - Unit 3 was shut down on January 31, 2019
DigitalGlobe / USDA Farm Service Agency

A bill seeking to keep retiring coal plants alive has passed third reading out of Wyoming's House of Representatives today: 50-8-2. It would obligate utilities to look for another potential buyer in good-faith and accept any reasonable offer. The Wyoming Public Service Commission would be responsible in determining what’s a reasonable offer. Its chief counsel Chris Petrie said the task would be welcome and that it already engages in similar analysis.

Highway 30 next to the Kemmerer Mine
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

In this past budget session, Wyoming’s state legislature funded a $30 million project that would benefit a coal mine that’s owner may soon go bankrupt. Westmoreland Coal Company is over a billion dollars in debt and has mentioned the possibility of bankruptcy in this past quarterly report. State legislators approved the sizable project, which would invest money relocating the highway U.S. 30 to accommodate a mine expansion.

Fossil Butte National Monument - Kemmerer

Jun 2, 2014
Fossil Butte National Monument

Fossil Butte National Monument preserves one of the richest fossil deposits in the world. Fifty two million year old fish, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and plants are nearly perfectly preserved in limestone.

Visitor center exhibits include over 300 fossils featuring a thirteen-foot crocodilian, the oldest complete bats and a mass mortality of 356 fish. Also, enjoy two video programs, interactive exhibits, and a book store.

A Colorado company has announced a $193 million deal to buy a coal mine in western Wyoming from Chevron
Mining Inc.

Chevron has been getting out of the coal industry and the Kemmerer mine is among its last coal assets. The  mine produces 4.7 million tons of coal a year.

The buyer is Englewood, Colo.-based Westmoreland Coal Co. The deal announced Tuesday includes a purchase price of $179 million plus $14 million in working capital.