Permit Application for New Wyoming Coal Mine Clears Hurdle

Proposal north of Sheridan is first major mine in the state in decades

By Tristan Scott

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming officials have determined that an application for a permit for the state’s first major new coal mine in decades is technically complete.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s determination helps clear the way for Ramaco Carbon’s proposed mine north of Sheridan.

After a 60-day public comment period, department Director Todd Parfitt will decide whether to issue the permit for the surface mine.

Ramaco seeks the coal to research turning coal into carbon-based products.

“This is probably the most stringent coal mining permit — both from the standpoint of review and the conditions imposed on it — frankly of any mining operation in the U.S., that I am aware of,” CEO Randall Atkins said.

Ramaco submitted its original permit application in 2014 but local residents and a landowners’ group, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, oppose the mine.

They worry the mine would cause subsidence and groundwater supply problems, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

“They have not met with the impacted landowners and they have not addressed our concerns,” Joan Tellez, a landowner and Powder River Basin Resource Council board member, said in a statement.

Ramaco took the permit application to court after its rejection by the state Environmental Quality Council, a citizen review board. A judge ruled in Ramaco’s favor and sent the permit application back to the department.

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