UNITED STATES NEWS

Wyoming coal mine is shedding jobs ahead of the power plant’s coal-to-gas conversion

Nov 29, 2023, 3:35 PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming coal mine that supplies fuel to a power plant that will be converted to burn gas plans to lay off 19 workers next month, the latest of thousands of jobs lost in the beleaguered U.S. coal industry in recent years.

Fifteen workers at the Black Butte Mine were told Monday and four more Wednesday they would lose their jobs in mid-December, mine manager Steve Gili said Wednesday.

Most are heavy equipment operators but some are mechanics and other mine staff. No additional layoffs are planned at the mine where the workforce will shrink from 132 to 113, said Gili, who declined to comment further.

While northeastern Wyoming is home to eight of the 10 most productive U.S. coal mines, Black Butte in the southwestern part of the state is a smaller operation. The mine east of Rock Springs in the sparsely populated Red Desert produces 2.5 million tons (2.3 million metric tons) of coal a year primarily to feed PacifiCorp’s nearby Jim Bridger power plant.

That’s less coal than the northeastern Wyoming mines produce in a week. Still, the announced layoffs drew the ire of state officials who blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for not facilitating the mine’s expansion.

“It is disheartening and disappointing to have the Black Butte Mine lay off employees at any time but this is particularly troubling as we enter the holiday season,” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement.

The power plant could continue to burn coal under plans to expand carbon capture and sequestration in Wyoming, Gordon added.

Nationwide, coal has been in decline as utilities have installed more renewable energy and converted coal-fired plants to be fueled by cheaper and cleaner-burning gas. At the Jim Bridger power plant, Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp plans to convert two generators to gas next year followed the remaining two in 2030.

Such trends have sapped U.S. coal demand and production has fallen from 1.3 billion tons (1.2 billion metric tons) a decade ago to 870 million tons (780 million metric tons) in 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

U.S. coal mining employment has shrunk by half over that period to about 40,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the slump, West Virginia added 1,500 coal mining jobs in 2022 and employed by far more miners than any other U.S. state at 13,000, which is 30% of the total U.S. coal-mining employment, according to the Energy Information Administration.

___

John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia, contributed to this report.

United States News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

4 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Former NFL player Richard Sherman arrested on suspicion of DUI, authorities in Washington state say

SEATTLE (AP) — Former NFL player Richard Sherman was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Washington State Patrol. No other details about the arrest were immediately available, said Trooper Rick Johnson, a patrol spokesperson. A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office said nothing had been sent to […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Lithium ion battery caused fatal fire in New York City apartment building, officials say

NEW YORK (AP) — A lithium ion battery sparked a fire that killed one person and injured 17 others at a New York City apartment building, fire officials said Saturday. Friday’s two-alarm fire began just after 2 p.m. on the third floor of a six-story building in Harlem. New York Police Department video shows firefighters […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal prosecutors accuse a New Mexico woman of fraud in oil and gas royalty case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico businesswoman is accused of defrauding the U.S. government and two Native American tribes of taxes and royalties due to them for oil and gas that her companies extracted from leased federal and tribal lands. Federal prosecutors announced this week that Teresa McCown recently was indicted by a grand […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Wyoming coal mine is shedding jobs ahead of the power plant’s coal-to-gas conversion