Demand for Wyoming coal is collapsing. Seismic changes are ahead for the state.

Nicole Pollack, Casper Star-Tribune 307-266-0509,

Wyoming used to power the nation.

For 37 years and counting, U.S. power plants have burned more coal from Wyoming than from any other state. The millions of tons loaded each year onto thousands of trains and distributed to hundreds of buyers have afforded Americans steady access to the many, multiplying conveniences of modern life.

Lower in toxic sulfur compounds than its East Coast counterpart and possible to mine at an unmatched scale, Powder River Basin coal rose between the close of the 20th century and the dawn of the 21st as a natural source of pride, and wealth, for Wyoming.

The big paychecks and good benefits dispensed by coal mines supported entire families. Power plants situated at the mouths of those mines kept utility bills low. The mines’ tax dollars built Wyoming’s schools and, along with oil and natural gas companies, pumped enough revenue into the state economy that individuals remained largely off the hook.

People are also reading…

“We have so much money in the state coffers that came in from energy,” said U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. “We’re committed to make sure those resources don’t

View Source