Coal Age

JAN-FEB 2019

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Page 12 of 51

January/February 2019 11 u.s. news continued sions with potential brokers and cus- tomers and anticipates one or more decisions this spring. Mine construction is expected to take 18 months or so to complete, so a late 2020 or early 2021 start of pro- duction appears possible. In September 2016, Blankenberger Brothers received a final permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Reclamation for a mining permit covering just under 1,000 shadow acres for the new mine. Although mine cutbacks and pow- er plant retirements have dominated the headlines in recent years, the ILB actually is home to a modest increase in new coal mine development, with Blankenberger only the latest example. Australia's Paringa Resources soon expects to start production at its Poplar Grove steam coal underground mine near the Green River in McLean Coun- ty, Kentucky. Paringa has sales com- mitments in excess of 5 million short tons (st) for Poplar Grove, including a "cornerstone" 4.75 million st/five-year agreement with Kentucky's two largest electric utilities, Louisville Gas & Elec- tric and Kentucky Utilities. Recently, Hallador Energy's Sun- rise Coal subsidiary was issued a fi- nal permit for its proposed Bulldog underground mine near Allerton in Vermilion County, Illinois. The com- pany has said Bulldog also would be in the range of 3 million stpy. How- ever, Hallador/Sunrise have not said publicly whether they intend to move forward with developing the mine, which has faced some public opposi- tion in the area. Proposed Revisions to MATS Regulation Will Come Soon The Environmental Protection Agen- cy (EPA) announced it will reassess the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). It has issued a proposed re- vised supplemental cost finding for MATS and that the Clean Air Act re- quired "risk and technology review." After taking into account both the cost to coal- and oil-fired power plants of complying with the MATS rule — costs that range from $7.4 to $9.6 bil- lion annually — and the benefits at- tributable to regulating hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from these power plants (quantifiable benefits that range from $4 to $6 million annu- ally), the agency said it is not "appro- priate and necessary" to regulate HAP emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. The emission standards and other requirements of the MATS rule, first promulgated in 2012, would remain in place. "We welcome the agency's propos- al to revisit what stands as perhaps the largest regulatory accounting fraud perpetrated on American consum- ers," said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. "By suppressing the real costs while double-counting potential benefits, the last administration made American households and businesses pay $960 in exchange for 60 cents in potential benefits. Surely, the EPA will now understand that no rational per- son would voluntarily agree to such a massively unbalanced arrangement." While the EPA predicted that the MATS rule would result in less than 5 gigawatts (GW ) of coal retirements, the actual result turned out to be nearly 10 times as high, according to the NMA. After legal challenges from NMA and others, the Supreme Court ulti- mately found that the EPA had adopt- ed MATS without appropriate consid- eration of costs, and therefore reversed and remanded the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court. By that time, however, the short lead time required to come into compliance with the unlawful reg- ulation had already passed, and many plant operators had already made the decision to shut down coal-fueled plants rather than incur the extraordi- nary costs of installing technology that made their plants less efficient. NTEC Continues Negotiations to Preserve NGS, Kayenta Mine Navajo Transitional Energy Com- pany's (NTEC) board unanimously approved a resolution on December 29 to continue negotiations with the managing companies of Navajo Gen- erating Station (NGS) and Kayenta mine to acquire operations. "We believe there is a clear and beneficial path forward to acquire and operate both NGS and Kayenta mine as a vertically integrated entity," NTEC CEO Clark Moseley said. NTEC's plan would have one en- tity own and operate the power plant and the coal mine. "This is a business decision about a business transaction for NTEC," said NTEC Board Chair Tim McLaughlin. "We are going to thoroughly evaluate plans and make sound business deci- sions that are beneficial for NTEC and the Navajo Nation." In October, Navajo Nation leaders requested that NTEC explore possible solutions to preserve operations of NGS and Kayenta mine. Since then, NTEC has put in place a technical team comprised of energy experts to work with Moseley and NTEC manage- ment. Moseley said continuing negoti- ations complies with NTEC's operating agreement to "improve the economic, financial, tax and revenue interests of the Navajo Nation and Navajo people." NTEC will continue negotiations with the Salt River Project and Pea- body Energy and conduct further feasibility studies and due diligence, Moseley said. Moseley cautioned committee members that no agreements or con- tracts have been signed. In other news: NTEC presented the Navajo Nation with a check for $3 mil- lion during a presentation ceremony on Monday, December 17 at the Na- vajo Nation Council Chambers. Nearly 20 people attended the ceremony. "NTEC is proud of its perform- ance over the past year and we want U.S. News Continued from Page 7

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