July 25, 2019
“On one hand we are relieved that Contura Coal West will remain on the hook and the responsible party for the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines, but on the other hand, there are still significantly large concerns. The state of Wyoming and the Department of Interior should demand that Contura pay all unpaid county taxes, federal royalties, as well as the employee benefits and taxes before the transfer of federal leases from Blackjewel to Contura. We must ensure that any band-aid solutions require Contura to meet these minimal obligations. The state must step up its efforts to ensure Contura addresses all environmental and safety issues at these mines because we believe they will face another bankruptcy in the near future due to the reality that these mines are uneconomic. Wyoming needs to assert itself when it comes to taxes owed by these companies as it’s imperative they pay their fair share. Additionally, we feel for our Appalachian allies and coal miners who will be abandoned through Blackjewel’s bankruptcy,” said Joyce Evans, Chair of Powder River Basin Resource Council.