December 16, 2015

Amid Arch Bankruptcy Worries, Coal Clean Up Costs A Concern

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As Arch Coal’s financial health continues to decline, Western landowner groups are raising concerns about the company’s ability to clean up its mines in the future.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils, including the Powder River Basin Resource Council, filed a formal complaint today with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality over Arch Coal’s ongoing mining operations.

At issue is the state’s self-bonding program, which basically allows coal companies to mine, without putting up the money to guarantee future clean-up, if they are financially healthy. The complaint asserts that Arch is no longer financially healthy and so it should have to post financial guarantees. In Wyoming, Arch currently has around $450 million worth of self-bonded clean-up costs.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council raised similar concerns about Alpha Natural Resources’ ability to pay for mine reclamation. Alpha is now in bankruptcy court and the future of its hundreds of millions of dollars in clean up costs is uncertain.