#reclamation
Coal Giant Murray Energy Declares Bankruptcy, Miners and Taxpayers May Get the Shaft

Coal Giant Murray Energy Declares Bankruptcy, Miners and Taxpayers May Get the Shaft

For the fifth time this year, a major coal company — this time Murray Energy — declared bankruptcy, despite all the President’s efforts to buoy the dying industry.  The company will get to continue to operate even as it restructures is 2.7 billion in operating debt.  But The Washington Post reported that according to its bankruptcy court filings, Murray Energy may seek relief from its $8 billion in pension debt and future payments into a federal fund for miners’ pensions and that relief for Murray would result in the depletion of the retirement fund for all 90,000 miners (most of whom are retired) across the country by 2020.

Why This Matters:  The bottom line is that the coal industry’s success in getting Trump to lift environmental rules did not result in enough savings to make these coal companies solvent.  So everyone (other than coal company executives) loses — the workers, the people who are stuck living near the denuded mess after these mines shut down, and taxpayers who will ultimately pay for both. 

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Governor Bullock Rolls Out A Plan for Public Lands

Governor Bullock Rolls Out A Plan for Public Lands

Last Friday, in the midst of a snowstorm that dumped up to four feet of snow in some areas of Montana, Governor Steve Bullock announced the second major policy proposal of his Presidential campaign, a policy on public lands management and ownership.  Bullock’s plan has three main principles:  (1) tackling climate change; (2) honoring our heritage of public land ownership by restoring and increasing public lands; and (3) making sure that all Americans get a fair shot at enjoying the opportunities that public lands provide.

Why This Matters:  As a western governor whose state consists of some of the nation’s most beloved and beautiful national parks, Bullock is in a good position to speak to the issue of whether the federal government should own and should conserve (rather than develop) more land.

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Two Large WY Coal Mines Close Abruptly Leaving Miners in the Dust

Two Large WY Coal Mines Close Abruptly Leaving Miners in the Dust

Last week, with no warning, Blackjewel LLC, which operates Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines — closed both which are the largest and most productive mines in Wyoming, because the United Bank of West Virginia denied Blackjewel financing, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy.  The 700 mine employees are now struggling to survive, with unresolved questions about the mess left behind, for both the people and the unreclaimed mining sites.

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