Coal Age

MAY 2019

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10 www.coalage.com May 2019 u.s. news continued company move to commercialization in an expedited manner, Eves said. The second-generation plant will include process and engineer- ing enhancements that the univer- sity's simulated modeling study and experimental program advocated. "We fully expect it will further in- crease the plant's performance and efficiency and will reduce the overall cost of a commercial unit," Eves said. "Furthermore, the university's work has informed and quantified the po- tential of manufacturing valuable byproducts as a consequence of the coal-beneficiation process." The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources is rec- ognized as a leading research insti- tution in energy technology, partic- ularly in the development of coal beneficiation and efforts to use the fuel more efficiently and to identify potentially profitable byproducts. "We are delighted to be asso- ciated with this first of a kind and industry-leading technology," said Richard Horner, director, School of Energy Resources. "We have validat- ed that their technology does what it says on the packet and are honored that CCTI has placed its trust in our researchers to support the important next stage in bringing Pristine tech- nology to market." CCTI said its clean coal technolo- gy may reduce some 90% of chemical pollutants from coal, including sul- fur and mercury, thereby resolving emissions issues affecting coal-fired power plants. Judge Rules in Favor of Environmental Groups Over Coal Moratorium On April 19, a federal judge ruled that the Department of the Interior (DOI) acted unlawfully when it revoked a moratorium on new coal mining leas- es on public lands. In 2017, President Donald Trump had ordered then-DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke to withdraw the moratorium put in place in 2016 by then-DOI Secretary Sally Jewell in 2016 under former President Barack Obama's administration. The morato- rium was to be effective until the Bu- reau of Land Management prepared a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. Dis- trict Court of the District of Montana said the plaintiffs in the case demon- strated "they possess standing to challenge the Zinke order" and that it constituted a major federal action that would have triggered a National Envi- ronmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. The defendants argued a NEPA review wasn't necessary (See Legally Speaking, p. 40) because no major fed- eral action occurred or final agency ac- tion. It was "merely an agency policy." The judge continued that the Zin- ke order meets requirements for final agency action under the Administra- tive Procedure Act (APA). Although the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, which included nu- merous environmental groups and the states of California, Washington and New Mexico, it did not revoke the lift. He directed both parties to come together and reach an agreement. "The court directs the parties to submit a joint proposal no later than 30 days from today's date if the parties reach an agreement regarding reme- dies," the judge said in his statement. If an agreement can't be made, the court directed both parties to prepare additional briefing and pro- posed remedies to address the cur- rent status of coal leasing, including the leases cited by plaintiffs in their complaint that had been affected by the moratorium. This would need to be submitted in 60 days or less. The judge's decision will follow. National Mining Associtaion Pres- ident Hal Quinn said the decision was "irreconcilable with a recent, unan- imous decision" by the D.C. Circuit Court, which dismissed claims that the DOI had an obligation to update its prior environmental impact state- ment for federal coal leasing. "Following the court's reasoning, the real action violating NEPA was for- mer Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell's order halting federal coal leasing with the Interior Department leaping first and promising to look later at the con- sequences of such an unprecedented action," Quinn said. "Secretary Zinke's directive, on the other hand, simply ceased a voluntary and wholly un- necessary review and resumed the faithful implementation of the Feder- al Coal Leasing Act under which deci- sions to lease coal are already subject to multiple NEPA reviews before leas- ing and before mining commences." DEQ Issues Permit for Rosebud Mine Expansion The Montana Department of Envi- ronmental Quality (DEQ) has par- tially approved the proposed expan- sion of the Rosebud mine, while also partially disapproving acreage where mining could potentially damage groundwater. The mine, located in the northern Power River Basin and 12 miles west of Colstrip, is owned by Western Energy Co., a subsidiary of Westmoreland Coal Co. DEQ formally issued a surface min- ing permit for the expansion, which would add 6,746 permitted acres to the existing coal mine. Known as Area F, the expansion would yield approximately 70.8 million tons of recoverable coal and extend the operational life of the mine by about eight years. This means the mine could operate until 2038. Westmoreland Coal, which emerged from bankruptcy in mid- March, posted a reclamation bond of $13.75 million, which covers the first five years of mine development. The area of disturbance would be approximately 4,260 acres, of which 2,159 acres would be mined. The re- mainder would be disturbed by high- wall reduction, soil storage, scoria U.S. News Continued from Page 7

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