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Coal companies claim they are not there for Wyoming miners

CODY — Don’t bite the hand that feeds you is a cliché that simply means someone is ungrateful or unappreciative.

About 250 representatives of the mining industry, from coal to uranium, gathered Thursday in Cody for the annual meeting of the Wyoming Mining Association to discuss the crushing policy attacks from Washington, D.C., that could one day halt coal mining in the energy-rich Powder region destroy. River Basin and effectively destroy the region’s economy.

On Thursday, the buzz on the sidelines of the convention was caused by another opponent.

Some discussed criticism of coal producers for not attending a public meeting of the Campbell County Board of Commissioners two days earlier to discuss opposition to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposal to limit future coal leasing on public lands in the United states to end. PRB by 2041.

Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said his trade group of mining companies began holding their annual meeting in Cody on the same day as the public hearing in Gillette. The scheduling conflict made it difficult to represent the industry in both places at the same time.

“It’s a bit unfair to suggest that the coal industry isn’t involved,” Deti said. “The industry has been fully involved at every level, not just in the BLM fights, but in a host of other federal actions aimed at killing the industry.”

The coal industry is not lukewarm in its battle tactics, he said.

“We are using every available tool at our disposal, and we are all in this fight together,” Deti said.

The first salvo

The rumor that the coal industry was afraid to attend the public hearing of the Campbell County Board of Commissioners in Gillette, Wyoming, stemmed from comments made at the meeting by Commission Chairman Del Shelstad.

He was shocked to see that no one from the coal industry raised a hand to indicate their presence at the meeting when he asked if there were any coal representatives in the crowd of 30 people on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a damn shame that the coal producers aren’t here fighting — if for nothing else than their workers have the right to say, ‘We’re here fighting for your jobs,’” Shelstad said.

“They’ll probably have a strategy that takes a slightly different approach than this one, and I’m fine with that, but it’s really embarrassing that we can’t get them here to make a public comment and take the fight to us . ,” he said.

In comments to Cowboy State Daily after Tuesday’s meeting, Shelstad had even sharper comments for coal executives.

“If I were a mine manager and the company I worked for said, ‘Hey, we’re dealing with this, and we’re going to handle it legally,’ I would say I want to attend this public meeting and I want to speak out against this for my employees ,” said Shelstad. “These are people who look up to me and I should be their leader every day. I should do that too. If they don’t, it’s tragic.”

Shelstad said he expected industry representatives would not attend his hearing at the Campbell County Administration Building in Gillette.

‘They’re not there when things like this happen. And it shouldn’t be that way,” he said. “If only elected officials and ordinary community members stand up, then the people who actually make a living from this must stand up too.”

  • About 250 representatives of the mining industry, from coal to uranium, gathered in Cody for the annual meeting of the Wyoming Mining Association to discuss the devastating attacks from Washington, D.C., that could one day wipe out coal mining in the energy-rich Powder River Basin .  effectively destroying the region's economy.
    About 250 representatives of the mining industry, from coal to uranium, gathered in Cody for the annual meeting of the Wyoming Mining Association to discuss the devastating attacks from Washington, D.C., that could one day wipe out coal mining in the energy-rich Powder River Basin . effectively destroying the region’s economy. (Pat Maio, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association in Washington, DC, told attendees during a keynote address to the Wyoming Mining Association in Cody, where it was meeting for its annual convention, that there is growing frustration in the mining industry over a There is a disconnect between federal policies attacking the coal, gas and oil industries and predictions about future energy demand and a declining supply of electricity from coal.  “Lunchbucket Joe (Biden) should want to come to Wyoming and talk to miners about the impact of his policies,” Nolan told Cowboy State Daily.
    Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association in Washington, DC, told attendees during a keynote address to the Wyoming Mining Association in Cody, where it was meeting for its annual convention, that there is growing frustration in the mining industry over a There is a disconnect between federal policies attacking the coal, gas and oil industries and predictions about future energy demand and a declining supply of electricity from coal. “Lunchbucket Joe (Biden) should want to come to Wyoming and talk to miners about the impact of his policies,” Nolan told Cowboy State Daily. (Pat Maio, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The Campbell County Board of Commissioners “needs to understand that these association guys here and all the company representatives are doing a lot of things all over the country all the time,” said Mike Nasi, an energy and environmental attorney with the law firm.  by Jackson Walker in Austin, Texas.  “The timing was terrible for that public meeting (in Gillette) because this event has been planned for this week for a long time.”
    The Campbell County Board of Commissioners “needs to understand that these association guys here and all the company representatives are doing a lot of things all over the country all the time,” said Mike Nasi, an energy and environmental attorney with the law firm. by Jackson Walker in Austin, Texas. “The timing was terrible for that public meeting (in Gillette) because this event has been planned for this week for a long time.” (Pat Maio, Cowboy State Daily)

Bad timing

Mike Nasi, an energy and environmental attorney at the law firm Jackson Walker LLP in Austin, Texas, described the BLM rule, if implemented, as a “fatal blow” to Wyoming’s revenue sources.

The state has collected more than $2 billion in severance taxes since 2019, and some level of frustration is starting to grow in the state over the constant drumbeat of proposed regulations from the BLM and the Environmental Protection Agency to ban coal and other fuels like oil and gas.

“People are frustrated because their future is in jeopardy, and it’s all hands on deck,” Nasi told Cowboy State Daily on the sidelines of the congressional meeting Thursday.

“They (the commissioners) need to understand that these guys from the association here and all the company representatives are doing a lot of things all over the country all the time,” Nasi said. “The timing was terrible for that public meeting (in Gillette) because this event has been planned for this week for a long time.”

“Given the circumstances surrounding the scheduling, I think it’s simply a conflict between when they met and the timing of this convention,” said Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association in Washington, DC.

Nolan told attendees during a keynote address that there is growing frustration in the mining sector over the disconnect between federal policies attacking the coal, gas and oil industries and projections about future energy demand and a declining supply of electricity from coal.

“There is no place in America more important to mining than the great state of Wyoming,” Nolan said. “The demand for minerals and electricity is exploding nationwide. As it stands, we are woefully unprepared to meet demand.

“Lunchbucket Joe (Biden) would like to come to Wyoming to talk to miners about the impact of his policies.”

Pat Maio can be reached at [email protected].

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