coal

Three of Montana's coal mines could shutter by 2029.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission / U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Several big coal mines in Montana and Wyoming are projected to close within the next two decades. The mines' owner, Westmoreland Coal Company, is on the brink of bankruptcy.

A coal train in the Powder River Basin
Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

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

Jackie Yamanaka

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson says the coal industry isn’t dead. He says it’s in transition and there needs to be a plan. Part of that plan may be forming a coalition with renewable energy producers.

Richardson envisions something akin to a Marshall Plan. It was a U.S. program that helped Europe rebuild after the devastation of World War II.

Jackie Yamanaka

A Westmoreland Coal Company says its 3 Montana coal mines are profitable despite its current financial crunch and the company is working to keep its mines open.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

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.

oil well
Montana Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled the federal government can’t ignore climate change when considering new fossil fuel leases in Montana and Wyoming.

A coal train in the Powder River Basin
Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

Coal lease rates have hit a new low in Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. This is the money companies pay to the federal government to dig up coal from public lands.


The Last Piece Of Ground

Feb 14, 2018
Lacy Jane Roberts

Robin Sterritt, a mechanical engineer who’s lived in Colstrip, Montana, for thirty years, points to the cloud of steam where the town’s famous smokestacks typically loom. It’s four degrees and the towers are hidden behind the heavy fog. “A day like today, everybody’s got the heat on,” he said.

Normally the smokestacks are hard to miss; they’re the tallest man-made structures in the state. On a clear day, you can see them thirty miles before you drive into Colstrip, a tidy town of 2300 in the southeast corner of Montana. Colstrip isn’t on the way to many places. It’s out here for only one reason: coal. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox will convene the first meeting Monday of the advisory group formed to address the impact of the closure of two coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.  This panel will help guide the disbursement of $10 million of economic impact funds provided by the owners of the Colstrip Generating Facility.

Cloud Peak Energy

Coal from the Montana side of the Powder River Basin will soon be headed to Japan for two new state-of-the-art coal gasification plants in the Fukushima Prefecture. Cloud Peak Energy announced an agreement with Singapore-based JERA Trading to supply coal for up to 40 months beginning at the end of next year.

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