The coal industry has been under a withering attack from environmentalists, clean energy advocates and even natural gas proponents — who want it’s role in domestic power generation reduced. So, you could certainly understand why the industry is fighting back with news of just how important coal production still is to states like Wyoming.
This month the industry in the West reached somewhat of a milestone when in Wyoming, it exceeded the $2 billion mark for federal coal lease sales over the last two decades. Anyway you slice it, that is an impressive figure, especially for a state that has such a small population — meaning revenue like that directly impacts virtually every citizen one way or another. Wyoming receives half the proceeds from federal coal lease sales and uses most of the money to fund education.
Marion Loomis, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, reported that Arch Coal’s successful $300 million bid in the Powder River Basin earlier this month pushed the state’s share of lease revenue to $2.08 billion. What’s more, the lease of the federally-owned coal by an Arch subsidiary came out to $1.35 per mineable ton, a new Wyoming record.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that coal production in Wyoming has doubled over the last two decades. According to the mining association, more than 400 million tons are now mined each year.