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Utah Isn't Alone In Challenging Blue States Over Coal Policies

Julia Ritchey
The Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, Utah, faces an uncertain future after California announced plans to phase out coal-powered electricity.

Utah and Wyoming are getting tough on states that they argue are interfering with coal mining economies. Both states just introduced legislation that would make it easier to legally challenge California and Washington State for their policies on coal exports from the mountain west. 

In Wyoming, lawmakers want a $250,000 grant to pay for an attorney to sue Washington state. According to their bill, Washington State’s decision to deny permits for a coal export terminal there interferes with Wyoming’s economy.

Connie Wilbert, a chapter director for Wyoming Sierra Club, said it would be a bad financial decision since the state is already facing an $850 million budget deficit.

"Just because we have coal here still in Wyoming doesn't mean that the demand for coal is remaining the same," she said. 

She said many global markets are moving away from coal and more toward renewables.  

In Utah, legislators also want state money to hire a lawyer but their legal fight is with California.  They believe climate change policies in the golden state are decreasing demand for Utah’s coal.  

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