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.

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  • 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.


  • News rules proposed for coal mines
  • Revenue Silver Mine owner defaults on payments
  • Waldorf type school in Paonia now officially a reality
  • Two deceased campers identified, carbon monoxide poisoning a possibility
  • CDC Issues Guidelines For Backyard Chicken Flocks
  • What's next for the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss?

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you're burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation's electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this low-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel.

Bill Pentak stands in the middle of a construction site, looking up at his company's latest project towering overhead — a new natural gas power plant.


  • Emergency flu shelter for homeless to open in Mesa County
  • DMEA builds business plan for fiber optic internet
  • Ouray hot spring pool gets renovation
  • Government may change way it charges for natural resources
Economy, North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Business and community leaders in Delta County’s North Fork Valley say Paonia, Crawford, and Hotchkiss need an economic boost. They recently held a forum on the North Fork Valley’s economy and what can be done to improve it.

About 100 people attended the forum in Paonia last week.

They came to hear different perspectives on the local economy, what’s working and what’s not, and how to make things better.

Hive Paonia
Laura Palmisano

About 100 people attended a forum on the North Fork Valley's economy and what can be done to improve it. 

Thirteen people ranging from the president of a coal mine to the head of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce spoke at the forum held at the Hive Paonia. 

"We have our farms," says Alexis Halbert, president of the chamber. "We have our hunting resources. We have are restaurants, wineries, [and] people who are creating things out of the natural assets of the valley."


Arch Coal and the Forest Service will not be appealing a decision that revokes the company's expansion lease, as well as vacating an exception in the Colorado Roadless­ Rule that allows for expanded mining in the North Fork. 

vote, coal
Laura Palmisano

Bowie Resource Partners laid off 150 people at its Bowie #2 mine near Paonia. 


Bowie Resource Partners says it has eliminated 150 jobs at the Bowie #2 coal mine near Paonia.

mark udall
Laura Palmisano

Editor's Note: This story aired in July and was rebroadcast in October. 

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., campaigned in Montrose at a voter meet-and-greet Tuesday. 

Udall faces Republican challenger Cory Gardner in a hotly contested race that could decide which party controls the Senate. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano was at the event and brings us this candidate interview. 

black lung mobile screening unit
Laura Palmisano

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is offering black lung screenings across the West. 

The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, a division of the CDC, has a mobile unit that travels around the United States to screen coal miners for the disease.

The unit recently stopped in Colorado. 

Delta-Montrose Techincal College, Bowie Mine
Laura Palmisano

This week the mine rescue crew from the Bowie #2 Mine is at the Delta-Montrose Technical College in Paonia preparing for an upcoming competition. 

Tony Wachowicz, a member of the Bowie coal mine rescue team, is participating in rescue training at the college.

“Mine rescue training is where you have a group of guys who go into a simulated problem and you go into a simulated field and you vent different gases and you save different people that have gotten into a situation," Wachowicz said. 

Flickr user Jasperdo

Slow Internet is a fact of life for many rural Americans, and residents of Western Colorado are no exception. There have been many failed attempts to bring faster Internet to KVNF's listening area, the latest being Eagle Net.

Now, there's yet another idea on the table. The Delta Montrose Electric Association is considering expanding broadband to much of rural Delta and Montrose counties. We begin our report at a local non-profit organization whose business is seriously impacted by the slow internet speeds.

Pam Morris via Flickr creative commons

Coal miners and their families filled the gym at the Paonia branch of the Delta Montrose Technical College on Saturday. Many of them were among the 300 people laid off by Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset last month. They were there to hear state Senator Gail Schwartz and others talk about how the state could help them deal with the job losses. Some ideas included rural economic development grants and financial aid for miners to go back to school. But many people left the meeting feeling just as lost as before. 

Joshua M via Flickr (CC-BY)

It takes water to produce electricity, but how much water varies a lot depending on the fuel source and the power generating technology.

In Colorado, around half a percent of our total water usage is used to generate electricity.

It’s a small percentage, says Stacy Tellinghusen, water policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates, a non-profit conservation group, but adds that it’s not inconsequential. 


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  • Moffat County Coal Mine Could Face $200,000 in Fines
  • Thousands Still Waiting on Relief Money after Front Range Floods
  • Roads in Lyons, Estes Park Re-Open, Bringing Relief to Local Businesses
  • Montrose City Files Claim Against Tri-County Water Company
  • New Brewery Set to Launch in Carbondale
Elizabeth Wynne Johnson (CC BY)

Last Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing in Denver on its upcoming carbon dioxide regulations for power plants.