Elected officials speak out on Black Butte Coal layoffs


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November 30, 2023 — Wyo4News Staff

Wyoming Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (Rep), Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis (Rep), and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (Rep) issued statements yesterday on the recently announced layoff of 19 employees from Black Butte Coal Company near Rock Springs.

The announced layoffs will take effect in mid-December, with reports that more layoffs may also be announced.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon statement:

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.

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis statement: Today, we are unfortunately witnessing the tragic reality of President Biden’s Green New Deal agenda and my heart breaks for the 19 Black Butte Coal Company employees losing their jobs.Their hard work keeps the lights and heat on in Wyoming during frigid winter nights and they deserve our gratitude. 


Seeing good people lose their jobs is tragic but what makes this situation particularly painful is the fact that it is a direct result of the Biden administration’s war on domestic energy production, and coal in particular. America needs coal, as evidenced by the fact it is the 3rd-largest energy source for the country’s grid, and Wyoming needs coal miners. My team is ready to help these workers and their families in any way we can. 

Wyoming Congresswoman Harriet Hageman statement: President Biden’s cruel “green bad deal” policies are creating the damage I have warned about for years. 19 Black Butte Coal Company employees losing their jobs is a completely avoidable situation and one that is entirely related to Biden’s failure to even consider the mine expansion application, which has been stalled by the Department of the Interior and the Office of Surface Mining and Environmental Enforcement for far too long. 

This is all part of this administration’s purposeful plan to eliminate fossil fuels and they don’t care what damage is done to hard working families in the process.