Coal Age

DEC 2018

Coal Age Magazine - For more than 100 years, Coal Age has been the magazine that readers can trust for guidance and insight on this important industry.

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Page 8 of 59

December 2018 7 news continued chartered flights and U.S. military aircraft followed relevant law, policy, rules and regulations. Another investigation focused on whether Zinke abused his position by having his family members travel with him in government vehicles, whether he asked that his wife, Lolita Zinke, be appointed as a DoI volunteer to legitimize her travel, and whether he requested a government cell phone for her. The inspector general also examined Zinke's use of his protective service detail, including during a vacation the Zinkes took to Turkey and Greece in August 2017. In Zinke's two years as secretary, he rolled back numerous regulations from the former President Barack Obama era, including revoking the three-year morato- rium placed on issuing federal coal leases. In response to the announcement Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, said, "Secretary Zinke's record stands as a testament to the Trump administration's 'America First' focus. He has taken a common-sense approach at Interior that benefits all Americans by ap- propriately balancing the many different missions within the department." Bankrupt Westmoreland Seeks to Pay Bonuses to Top Managers As it prepared to enter into a potential sale arrangement with a stalking horse bidder before 2018 comes to a close, bankrupt Westmoreland Coal Co. sought court ap- proval in late November to pay about $1.5 million in quarterly retention bonuses to 243 of its top managers. While the strategy is not uncommon in Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy reorga- nization cases, Westmoreland's request drew immediate skepticism from environ- mentalists and the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents about 300 workers at Talen Energy's Col- strip power plant in Montana, which burns Westmoreland coal. They questioned the wisdom of spending millions of dollars by the Englewood, Colorado-based company facing a questionable future. The United Mine Workers of America already has intervened in the bankruptcy case, fearing Westmoreland is attempting to cut health-care benefits for retirees. The UMWA represents miners at the compa- ny's Kemmerer mine, a truck and shovel operation in southwestern Wyoming. But Westmoreland told the Houston bankruptcy court the bonus money would be well spent. Without paying the bonus- es, it said, valued employees could leave the company at a crucial time when it is preparing to embark upon a sale process. "The debtors believe that the risk of employee attrition is acute because of, among other things, the uncertainty arising from, and the valued employees' unfamiliarity with, the Chapter 11 process and the debtors' restructuring efforts," the company said. "Indeed, since June 1, a week after [Westmoreland] entered Continued on p. 11... top 10 coal-producing states and regions weekly spot prices (Thousands of Short Tons) Week Ending (12/1/18) YTD '18 YTD '17 % Change Wyoming 276,465 291,967 -5.3 West Virginia 89,661 85,205 5.2 Pennsylvania 45,667 45,311 0.8 Illinois 45,071 44,708 0.8 Kentucky 36,382 38,678 -5.9 Montana 36,133 32,176 12.3 Indiana 31,111 29,066 7.0 North Dakota 27,310 26,432 3.3 Texas 26,414 33,283 -20.6 Alabama 13,378 11,886 12.6 Appalachian Total 186,584 182,652 2.2 Interior Total 126,703 134,126 -5.5 Western Total 380,495 396,988 -4.2 U.S. Total 693,782 713,766 -2.8 ($/ton) Week Ending (12/14/18) Central Appalachia (12,500 Btu, 1.2 SO 2 ) $81.40 Northern Appalachia (13,000 Btu, < 3.0 SO 2 ) $63.75 Illinois Basin (11,800 Btu, 5.0 SO 2 ) $38.95 Powder River Basin (8,800 Btu, 0.8 SO 2 ) $11.95 Uinta Basin (11,700 Btu, 0.8 SO 2 ) $40.40 Source: Energy Information Administration monthly stats from coal country

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