Coal

  • Colorado releases economic forecast
  • New Mexico sues Colorado over Animas River spill
  • Update on regional efforts to improve internet
  • Grand Junction woman arrested for sexual assault on teenage boy
  • Public comment taken over coal royalties

  • Pilot who flew into power lines gets license revoked temporarily
  • Ski resort visitations are up
  • Ouray County Road 1 might be paved if county approves
  • Republican candidates face a crowded field to take on Senator Bennet
  • Coal production down nationally to 1981 levels  

  • Estimate of natural gas on Western Slope balloons into one of the largest in nation
  • 90 Road on Uncompahgre Plateau blocked with barriers
  • Coal production down this year, continuing trend
  • Gov. Hickenlooper signs bill to investigate new reservoir  

  • Demands made for Delta GOP leader’s resignation
  • High temps melt snowpack, but enough is still there to last
  • Programs helps hungry Delta County kids
  • Coal states struggle to adapt to renewable demand  
West Elk Mine
WildEarth Guardians

The last fully operational coal mine in the western part of the state announced layoffs Thursday.

The West Elk Mine outside of Paonia is owned by Arch Coal. The company filed for bankruptcy in January and says it’s letting go of 80 workers.

All over eastern Kentucky, you see cars and pickup trucks with black license plates proclaiming the owner is a "friend of coal."

Even though the license plates are all over, it's getting harder to find actual coal miners here: Fewer than 6,000 remain in the state, where the coal industry is shrinking fast. More than 10,000 coal workers have been laid off since 2008.

Many have had to leave the area to find work, but a few have found employment in other — and sometime unexpected — fields, as businesses are innovating to use former coal workers in new ways.

  • CO 149 resurfacing project outside of Lake City starts
  • Colorado's Cruz-leaning GOP tries to make peace with Trump
  • Listen to U.S. coal production fall off a cliff

KVNF / Jake Ryan

The Elk Creek Mine in Gunnison County was once one of Colorado’s most productive coal mines. Its coal silo stood tall for 50 years, but last Friday it was demolished. While just another step in the mine’s shutdown, its collapse was symbolic.


Rob Mulford, coal miner, Paonia Town Park
Laura Palmisano

Thirty-five years ago today, April 15, 1981, an explosion at the Dutch Creek No. 1 Mine outside of Redstone, Colo. killed 15 coal miners. Rob Mulford worked at the mine. He wasn't there that day, but the weight of the tragedy is still with him. Mulford now lives in Alaska, but he's back, to honor his friends and fellow miners who died. 


A coal-mining giant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid an industrywide slump.

Peabody Energy — which is the biggest coal miner in the U.S. and says it is the largest private-sector coal company in the world — is looking to restructure its heavy debt load and gain relief from its creditors. It hopes to continue operations unimpeded.

  • Oil and gas local control bill fails in state legislature
  • Oyster joins race for San Miguel County Commissioner
  • Ulibarri misses petition deadline for Montrose County Commissioner Race
  • Ridgway Fire expands rescue services 
  • Coal production down in Colorado
  • Region 10 receives $1.8M for regional broadband effort  
EIA

A recent federal report looks at changes in how the United States generates its electricity. It shows a significant drop in the amount of power coming from coal. 


Oregon's biggest power companies will have 14 years to wean themselves from coal, under a new bill approved by lawmakers Wednesday. The measure has the support of Gov. Kate Brown — and the state's two largest electric companies.

Several environmental groups have backed the bill, which calls for requiring large utilities to ensure that at least 50 percent of their power comes from renewable sources by 2040.

Bowie #2 Mine, Coal Mine
WildEarth Guardians

Another coal mine will shut down in Western Colorado. Bowie Resource Partners is idling the Bowie #2 Mine near Paonia.

In a release, the company cites the continued decline of the coal market as the reason for the closure.

The mine currently employs 108 people. Bowie estimates 68 full-time positions will be eliminated in April, but by July, nearly everyone will lose their job. 

  • Historic dairy in Montrose to close
  • Bill to aid struggling rural Colorado counties progresses at state capital 
  • 2015 Colorado coal production lowest in years
  • Capital Conversation with Bente Birkeland on TABOR

The coal industry is hurting. For decades, coal was the go-to fuel for generating electricity. Now that is changing.

The connection between coal and generating electricity goes back to the late 19th century. A good place to get a sense of that history is the small town of Sunbury, Pa. — specifically at the corner of Fourth and Market streets at the Hotel Edison.

  • I­-70 through Glenwood Canyon to remain closed until Thursday
  • New charges against suspected Mesa County deputy killer
  • Black Hills Energy acquires SourceGas
  • Trains transporting less coal
  • New bill wants to expand access for undocumented driver's licenses  

  • Colorado sees first avalanche death of the season
  • Former DeBeque town marshal under arrest again
  • San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes will not be running for re­election
  • A look at the quagmire of coal mine cleanup  

Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The change won't affect existing leases, which generated nearly $1.3 billion for the government last year.

The Department of the Interior says it wants to make sure the money it's charging for coal leases takes into account both market prices and what's often called the "social costs" of coal — its impact on climate change and public health.

The agency says federal lands account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. coal production.

Joe Moore stood near a sign reading: "Authorized Personnel Only."

"I used to be authorized," he said.

Moore is a coal miner. The sign was at the entrance to the mine that had laid him off the previous day. The Alliance Coal facility had closed — a symptom of the coal industry's rapid decline.

Representatives from federal agencies were in Paonia earlier this week.  They held an open house to discuss the Roadless Rule, a defining policy that prevents development in wilderness across the state, except certain areas.  Areas like the North Fork.

  • 18-year-old woman missing from Montrose
  • Coal companies struggle
  • Lt. Gov. Garcia resigns, talks higher education

Coal In Decline

Nov 11, 2015
Coal
NPS

A conversation with Elizabeth Shogren of High Country News about bankruptcy and mine closures. 

Economy, North Fork Valley, economic development
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Two Colorado communities hard-hit by the downturn in the coal industry received federal grants last week to help diversify their economies.

The Obama administration awarded Region 10, an organization of six counties on the Western Slope, a $1.2 million grant. Moffat County also got $50,000.

  • Colorado Health Insurance Co­op no longer able to sell insurance for next year
  • Federal grants help coal economies
  • Large grant helps private well owners get their water tested
  • More snow than average predicted for southern Colorado
  • KVNF Annual Meeting results
Coal
NPS

A coal mine near Paonia is laying off more workers.

Bowie Resource Partners announced on Tuesday that it's eliminating nearly 100 jobs at the Bowie #2 Mine.

  • 14­-year-­old killed while hunting on Grand Mesa
  • Syphilis cases becoming more common in Colorado
  • Montrose County ordered to pay more than $750K in discrimination suit
  • Conference in Grand Junction looks to diversify coal economy of Western Slope
  • Statewide hearings look at Colorado’s new water plan
  • Severance tax distributed to communities, cuts expected next year
  • ACT scores dip in Colorado

Colstrip, Mont., is true to its name — it exists because of coal.

"Our coal's getting deeper, like everywhere else, because everybody's mining. They're getting into the deeper stuff," says Kevin Murphy, who has worked in the Rosebud Mine for 15 years running a bulldozer in the open pits.

Everything about the mine is enormous, especially the dragline, a machine as big as a ship with a giant boom that extends 300 feet up into the air. The dragline perches on the lip of the pit, scraping away hundreds of feet of rocky soil to reveal the black seam of coal below.

  • Wildfires create hazy conditions in Colorado
  • Federal coal program debated at BLM session in Golden
  • Delta selects firm for city manager search
  • Black Canyon Jet Center in Montrose files federal complaint
  • Fungus affects cottonwood trees in Aspen, Roaring Fork

An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

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