Federal Coal Sales Moratorium Shakes Industry Stronghold
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Hard times for the coal have spread from Appalachia to the Rocky Mountain region.
There, a three-year moratorium on leasing federal coal leasing has added uncertainty to an industry already dealing with bankruptcies of major producers and diminished hope for exporting U.S. coal overseas. No town out West has more at stake with coal than Gillette, Wyoming.
In the past, coal helped Gillette ride through downturns in oil and natural gas. This time, locals aren't sure how their town on the high plains will return to prosperity. The recently announced leasing moratorium will affect only a handful of leases in Wyoming. Analysts say pollution regulations and weakening demand already have damaged the coal market.