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Wyoming regulators give green light to new coal mine

Posted at 1:06 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 15:06:28-05

The first new coal mine in Wyoming in nearly a half century will be allowed to move forward.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality last week approved a permit extension for the Brook Mine, paving the way for Ramaco Carbon to begin digging coal.

Ramaco Carbon plans to use coal from its 15,000-acre surface mine near Sheridan to develop alternative uses for coal, such as carbon fiber and carbon building products.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council appealed the state's decision, arguing that the company's proposal lacked a traffic and subsidence control plan and did not comply with federal requirements.

But the Wyoming DEQ ruled the mine's permit does comply with "all applicable State and Federal Laws and regulations."

Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins said the company expects to employ up to 40 workers once the coal mine opens.

Atkins saluted the Wyoming DEQ in bringing the decade-long permit odyssey to a close.

“We salute the professionalism of the DEQ and look forward to going to work developing our coal-to-products technology platform,” Atkins said.

Powder River Basin Resource Council Chair Marcia Westkott was disappointed with the decision.

“We hoped that solid science surrounding the risk of ground cave-ins or subsidence issues would be acknowledged and that the state would agree that the company needs to provide a better overall plan for this serious issue,” Westkott said.

The Brook Mine is located approximately six miles north of Sheridan in the scenic Tongue River Valley, an area with important agricultural and recreational attributes.

Westkott said most of the objecting landowners live in close proximity to the mine and are concerned about impacts to their property, health and safety, and quality of life.

Ramaco Carbon specializes in advancing new carbon technologies and products, such as carbon fiber and carbon building products. The company's new ICAM Research Park in Sheridan is currently in the final stages of construction.