Coal Mining | KUNC

Coal Mining

Scott Franz

When Blondie's Diner closes around 9 p.m. and a table of hunters finish their green chili cheeseburgers and head back to their hotel, the town of Naturita feels a bit like a ghost town.

There are two new marijuana dispensaries still open late with green neon signs, but on a November night at the start of hunting season, not many customers are partaking.

The only sound punctuating through the cold evening is a semi-truck idling in the parking lot of the Rimrocker Hotel, its driver trying to stay warm.

Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage

It's a good day when Tammie Delaney hears a train rumbling down the tracks outside of the century-old granary building she owns in Hayden.

"Oh, you get the train noise today!" she shouts as a train whistle pierces the usual silence in the small town of about 2,000 people.

The train whistles are an indicator of the economy in the Yampa Valley.

U.S. senators have introduced a bipartisan bill that promises to protect the pensions for 92,000 retired coal miners and secure 13,000 miners' healthcare benefits.

Wikimedia Commons

At two of the world's biggest coal mines, the finances got so bad that their owner couldn't even get toilet paper on credit.

Warehouse technician Melissa Worden divvied up what remained of the last case, giving four rolls to each mine and two to the mine supply facility where she worked.

Days later, things got worse.

To explain why folks in rural Delta County, Colo. are feeling a lot less anxious than they were a couple years ago, consider the story of Johnny Olivas.

He's digging a line down a steep, dirt driveway, where he'll lay fiber optic cable into a home. His company, Lightworks Fiber, has begun installing badly needed broadband to this remote valley of deserts and aspen-cloaked mesas.

"I didn't know anything about fiber optic, but you catch on pretty quick," Olivas says during a break. "It's a hell of a lot easier than coal mining."

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

A U.S. district court judge has struck down the City of Oakland’s ban on transporting coal through a planned export terminal there.

Clean Power Plan Rollback: Five Things To Know

Oct 10, 2017
Stephanie Joyce / Inside Energey

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday signed a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan  — President Obama’s signature climate change legislation. Here are five things you should know:

What is the Clean Power Plan anyway?

The 2015 rule aimed at reducing carbon emissions nationwide by moving the country’s electric grid away from coal and towards cleaner sources of energy. It was this nation’s most ambitious proposal to fight climate change.  Here’s an easy video explainer of the whole plan:

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado is a resilient state. The unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation and the population along the Front Range is booming. It’s easy to see the impact of a strong economy in Denver. Construction cranes are up all over the city and it’s harder than ever to find affordable housing.

But it’s a different story in many parts of western Colorado.

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