One of oldest coal companies in US files for bankruptcy
October 9, 2018

One of the oldest coal companies in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday to deal with more than $1.4 billion in debt amid declining demand for the fuel. Englewood, Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal Co. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston as part of a restructuring agreement with an unnamed group of lenders. Westmoreland, which operates mines across the U.S. and Canada, is the fourth major coal company to file for bankruptcy in the past three years, joining Peabody Energy Corp., Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources.

ExxonMobil gives $1 million to promote a carbon tax-and-dividend plan

Washington Post
October 9, 2018

ExxonMobil will give $1 million over two years to a group promoting a plan that would tax the carbon content of fuels, including the oil giant’s products, and return the proceeds of the tax to Americans. ExxonMobil said the $1 million will go to Americans for Carbon Dividends, a 501(c)(4) educational and advocacy organization created to support a carbon tax-and-dividend plan put forward by a group including former treasury secretary James A. Baker III and former secretary of state George P. Shultz. The tax would be $40 per ton of carbon dioxide, equal to about 36 cents per gallon of gasoline. It would also raise costs for natural gas and coal.

More than 16 GW of coal-fired capacity to retire by 2021, FERC staff

S&P Global
October 9, 2018

More than 37 GW of generation capacity has been proposed to retire by September 2021, including 16.3 GW of coal-fired capacity, 12 GW of gas-fired power and 8 GW of nuclear generation, according to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff’s monthly infrastructure report. In the context of the ongoing debate about fuel security, the latest report’s numbers continue an alarming trend, said William Scherman, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. “The country is at a crossroads. Fuel diverse resources are vanishing each day,” said Scherman.

AEP to shutter 1,590 MW Ohio coal plant two years ahead of schedule

Utility Dive
October 10, 2018

American Electric Power (AEP) confirmed Tuesday in an email that the company has decided to close down its 1,590 MW Conesville coal generation facility in Ohio by May 31, 2020, two years ahead of schedule. The utility considered recent power auction results as well as the costs to continue operating the plant, determining it was not economically viable. Units 5 and 6 were originally slated to close down in 2022, but the company now says market conditions could lead to their mothballing as early as May 2019. Unit 4 will run through May 2020, at which point the plant will be shuttered.​

Bid Opportunity

Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project in Carbon County

On November 17, 2017, a bid was issued for an abandoned mine reclamation project in Carbon County.

The principal items of work and approximate quantities include: clearing and grubbing, 177.6 acres; grading, 1,937,857 cubic yards; drainage excavation, 8,066 cubic yards; and granular sodium bentonite clay lining 605 tons.

All bids will be opened on December 14, 2017, at 2 p.m.

Bid documents, including drawings in PDF format and Auto-Cad Map 3D format, may be downloaded for free by going to For additional information please contact the PA DEP Construction Contracts Section at (717) 787-7820.

Policy & Regulatory Update

After Australian cyclone, coking coal spikes as China chases U.S. supplies

China, the world’s biggest coking coal importer, is scrambling to cover Australian supply disruptions after Cyclone Debbie knocked out mines and rails by turning to an unusual source: the United States.

Save our remaining coal plants from closure

We take electricity for granted until something causes us to lose power for a few hours, or perhaps even a few days. Losing power is a very inconvenient reminder of why we need an electric power grid that is both reliable — that is, having an adequate supply of electricity — and resilient — that is, responsive to extreme events that interrupt power.

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