Coal is on its Way Out, Opening Door For Clean Energy

September 19, 2018


In case you missed the recent news, in spite of the Trump Administration’s attempts to bail out coal companies, the industry continues a steady decline in the Powder River Basin of northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana.

In the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, companies are asking the Administration to delay approving several new federal coal lease applications.

This is in spite of the fact that in 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior lifted a moratorium on a new coal leasing claiming it was necessary to give a boost to the domestic coal industry.

Most recently, Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal company, relinquished thousands of acres of federal coal leases in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, deeming them “uneconomical.” 

This also comes on the heels of Peabody withdrawing an application for a new federal coal lease earlier this year that would have expanded the company’s Rawhide coal mine north of Gillette, Wyoming.

And of course, this also comes on the heels of numerous withdrawals and relinquishments of federal coal leases in 2017.

The Powder River Basin is the largest coal producing region in the United States and fuels over a hundred power plants from coast to coast.

Check out our interactive story map below to learn more and learn why declining coal production in this region is such a big deal.

And overall, coal production continues to dip in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming.

Worse for industry, reports indicate that 10% of all coal produced in the U.S. in the first half of 2018 was sent to power plants slated for shutdown.

The bottomline is the coal industry is continuing its tailspin, especially in the American West.

About the Author

Jeremy Nichols | Former Climate and Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

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