Coal | KUER 90.1

Coal

Photo of the Navajo Generating Station
Wikimedia Commons

Friday evening, March 6, 2020

Photo of the truck at the mine
Peabody Energy

The Trump administration controversially reopened public lands to new coal leases on Wednesday, saying the move won’t significantly impact the environment — a finding conservation groups call laughable. 

Photo of natural gas pump in the desert.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Rural communities across the U.S. face tough times. 

But in Utah’s coal country — Carbon and Emery counties — the “Coal Country Strike Team” is stepping in to help. 

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Albers / KUER

Editor’s note: During impeachment inquiry hearings, KUER is offering news roundups from around the state and audio of those stories as a resource for our audience.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

Stock photo of an underground mine shaft.
iStock

The largest private coal company in the country, Murray Energy Corporation, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, leaving workers at its 15 active mines across the country — including one in Utah — wondering how the move will affect their livelihoods. 

Photo of coal mine on federal land.
The Bureau of Land Management

President Donald Trump’s push for more energy development on federal lands suffered a setback last week when a federal judge ruled that his administration didn’t look at environmental impacts before lifting an Obama-era freeze on new coal leases.

Coal
oatsy40 / Flickr

As the demand for coal continues to plummet in the United States, state legislatures in the Mountain West are coming up with creative ways to either save the industry or transition away from it.

Landscape photo of mining
Flickr/Wild Earth Guardians

A bankrupt coal producer in the Mountain West wants to give $1.5 million worth of bonuses to top managers while potentially cutting retirement benefits for mine workers, according to recent federal court filings.

 

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.

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.

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.

iStock.com / desertsolitaire

The Trump administration unveiled its long-anticipated plans Tuesday to clean up pollution from power plants, but it's not clear that the proposal will change electric power in Utah.

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.

Over the past decade, the market for Mountain West coal has cooled. Renewables and natural gas in the U.S. are cheaper, stocks are tumbling and some coal companies are even teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

istock

Wednesday, an Interior Department advisory panel will propose changing how the government receives royalties from coal dug up on federal lands. But some critics are calling foul as panel members either come from the energy industry or energy-producing states.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

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. 

Photo of the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta.
KUER File Photo

Utah could be headed to battle against California over coal.

Source: U.S. Interior Department

Everything about the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is big. It’s 1.9 million acres. It’s filled with dinosaur bones and ancient history.

While coal interests have retained their strong preference for Republican presidential candidates, oil and gas interests have shifted their spending to Clinton in the general election.

Fossil fuel companies have a history of backing Republican candidates. But this year’s unusual presidential campaign appears to be having a strange ripple effect on political giving -- at least from the oil and gas industry.

 

Phil Douglas, UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES

The coal lease auction of 6200 acres scheduled for Thursday has been postponed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake City office.

The little-known Community Impact Board usually spends its meetings considering funding requests for rural Utah projects like a new justice center in Grantsville or improvements at Grand County’s airport.

istockphoto.com: hanusst

An inconspicuous state panel known as the Community Impact Board will meet this week for the first time since the  Oakland, Calif., City Council voted to ban coal shipments. Board member Jae Potter says it’s disappointing, but Oakland’s move won’t derail support here for Utah coal.

Utah's Energy Landscape, Michael Vanden Berg / Utah Geological Survey

The fifth annual Governor’s Energy Development Summit gets underway on Tuesday.

This year’s two-day program begins with a panel of women who are helping to lead the energy industry through change.

Michael D. Vanden Berg / Utah Geological Survey

The U.S. Interior Department has launched a sweeping review of coal mining on federal lands, and next Thursday officials are visiting Salt Lake City to talk about it.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of the revenue generated from mineral mining on federal lands comes back to Utah. It’s typically used to build community centers and roads in the rural counties where the mining’s done. But lawmakers want to use the money now to transport Utah products into foreign markets.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Lawmakers have just a few days left to decide whether to use public dollars to help finance a California shipping terminal.

Screenshot / Utah Office of Energy Development

Utahns had a mixed response to the announcement Friday that the Interior Department’s launching an in-depth review of federal coal programs.

For Some, Future of Emery County Depends on Coal

Sep 18, 2015
Brian Grimmett

Legislators continued their two-day site visit through rural Utah Thursday with visits to Emery and Sanpete counties.

Brian Grimmett

Instead of holding their regular interim meetings this month, state legislators hit the road to visit several sites in central and southeastern Utah. 

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