coal

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.

USDA NRCS

While coal production is down nationwide, a new report says it still brings a lot of money to Montana. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Montana and Wyoming would be the perfect laboratories to test carbon capture technologies, that’s according to speakers talking about the subject at a forum in Billings, including Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

The Trump administration is repealing an Obama-era rule that forced energy companies to pay more royalties on fossil fuels. Coal producers call it a return to fairness, but environmental groups say the repeal allows companies to continue exploiting a decades-old loophole.

Paul Enenbach / Flickr Creative Commons

A coal power plant owes $2 million in property taxes to Big Horn County in southern Montana.

Billings Gazette reporter Matt Hudson has been following this story for nearly a year, and shares insights on the latest in late payments.

Jackie Yamanaka

A coal mine on the Crow Reservation was the first stop for Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Montana.

After Air Force Two landed, Pence climbed into a waiting vehicle and went directly to the Crow Reservation.


westmoreland.com/about-us/mining-operations/

Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are scheduled to visit a coal mine on the Crow Reservation Friday. The Trump Administration has voiced its support for the coal industry, but spokesmen for the industry and an environmental organization aren’t certain what can be done to help that ailing energy source.

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