Governor Gordon issues statement on Black Butte Coal Company layoffs 

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November 29, 2023



Governor Gordon issues statement on Black Butte Coal Company layoffs 

Governor Mark Gordon has issued the following statement addressing the layoffs at Black Butte Coal company in Sweetwater County.

It is disheartening and disappointing to have the Black Butte Mine lay off employees, at any time, but this is particularly troubling as we enter the holiday season.  This layoff is directly linked to the Biden Administration’s refusal to approve the mine expansion application, which has been languishing before the Department of the Interior and the Office of Surface Mining and Environmental Enforcement  (OSMRE) for years.  I brought this to the attention of Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Acting Director of OSMRE in April, and talked to Secretary Haaland in November about the possibility of layoffs. The mine has gone through rounds of environmental reviews and Interior continues to throw up additional paper obstacles.

Let’s be clear.  This is about coal.  That coal could be used at the Jim Bridger Power Plant as part of their plan to use carbon capture.  We just learned that part of the rate increase requested by Rocky Mountain Power was due to the price of coal, gas and renewables -- clearly there must be a demand for coal for power.  Yet, the Department of Interior prefers to lay off Wyoming workers rather than allow the mining of additional coal reserves within an already existing permit.  

Fortunately, Wyoming does care. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS)  is assisting those being laid off.  There is a Rapid Response event at 3:00 pm today at the Rock Springs Workforce Center at the White Mountain Mall,  2451 Foothill Boulevard, Suite 100.  DWS unemployment and vocational rehabilitation staff will be available. For those unable to make this event, DWS is available for 1:1 support.