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Court sides with Ramaco in efforts to open coal mine
Court sides with Ramaco in efforts to open coal mine
A Wyoming coal company moved one step closer to realizing its goal: opening up the first state-permitted coal mine in nearly half a century.
A Wyoming coal company moved one step closer to realizing its goal: opening up the first state-permitted coal mine in nearly half a century.

In an unprecedented decision, Laramie County District Court ruled in favor of the Sheridan-based company Ramaco Carbon.

The judge concluded state environmental regulators erred when rejecting the company’s permit application to mine. If upheld, the ruling could upend the Environmental Quality Council’s authority to help determine the fate of mining activity in Wyoming.

The Council cannot “make the substantive, technical assessment required to approve a permit application,” the court concluded. Instead, the ultimate authority over a permit application resides with the director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Ramaco has big plans for Wyoming’s coal country.

The company plans to build a coal campus in northern Wyoming – replete with a research complex and a manufacturing hub. On top of the ambitious proposal, Brook Mining Company, a subsidiary of Ramaco, bought land near Sheridan to resurrect coal mining operations to feed the research facilities. The company aims to transition away from thermal coal generation and find other uses for coal beyond electricity generation.

But the Brook Mine has hit a series of hurdles since the company submitted its permit application in 2014.

Though the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality initially stated the Brook Mining Company’s permit had no “deficiencies” and was “technically adequate,” the Environmental Quality Council, an independent regulatory body, concluded otherwise.

The Council held a contested case hearing on the mine in 2017. After considering a deluge of expert testimony and public concerns about the proposed Brook Mine, the Council declined to approve the Brook Mine permit application. The company failed to properly investigate how hydrology, subsidence and blasting could affect surrounding communities and land, the seven-member regulatory body concluded.

In turn, the director of the Department of Environmental Quality denied the company a permit to mine.

The Brook Mining Company took the issue to court. The Friday court decision adds another wrinkle to the fight over the contentious mine permit. Judge Catherine Rogers remanded, or sent back, the application to the Department of Environmental Quality for a final review by Director Todd Parfitt.
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Court sides with Ramaco in efforts to open coal mine
Court sides with Ramaco in efforts to open coal mine
A Wyoming coal company moved one step closer to realizing its goal: opening up the first state-permitted coal mine in nearly half a century.
A Wyoming coal company moved one step closer to realizing its goal: opening up the first state-permitted coal mine in nearly half a century. In an unprecedented decision, Laramie County District Court ruled in favor of the Sheridan-based company Ramaco Carbon. The judge concluded state environmental regulators erred when rejecting the company’s permit application to mine. If upheld, the ruling could upend the Environmental Quality Council’s authority to help determine the fate of mining activity in Wyoming. The Council cannot “make the substantive, technical assessment required to approve a permit application,” the court concluded. Instead, the ultimate authority over a permit application resides with the director of the Department of Environmental Quality. Ramaco has big plans for Wyoming’s coal country. The company plans to build a coal campus in northern Wyoming – replete with a research complex and a manufacturing hub. On top of the ambitious proposal, Brook Mining Company, a subsidiary of Ramaco, bought land near Sheridan to resurrect coal mining operations to feed the research facilities. The company aims to transition away from thermal coal generation and find other uses for coal beyond electricity generation. But the Brook Mine has hit a series of hurdles since the company submitted its permit application in 2014. Though the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality initially stated the Brook Mining Company’s permit had no “deficiencies” and was “technically adequate,” the Environmental Quality Council, an independent regulatory body, concluded otherwise. The Council held a contested case hearing on the mine in 2017. After considering a deluge of expert testimony and public concerns about the proposed Brook Mine, the Council declined to approve the Brook Mine permit application. The company failed to properly investigate how hydrology, subsidence and blasting could affect surrounding communities and land, the seven-member regulatory body concluded. In turn, the director of the Department of Environmental Quality denied the company a permit to mine. The Brook Mining Company took the issue to court. The Friday court decision adds another wrinkle to the fight over the contentious mine permit. Judge Catherine Rogers remanded, or sent back, the application to the Department of Environmental Quality for a final review by Director Todd Parfitt.



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