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Wyoming politicians lay blame for Black Butte layoffs at Biden Administration’s feet

Gov. Mark Gordon

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Wyoming politicians on Wednesday responded to a recent round of layoffs from a southern Wyoming coal mine — layoffs they claim are directly tied to President Joe Biden’s Administration.

According to reporting by SweetwaterNow, more than a dozen coal miners formerly employed by Black Butte Coal Company were laid off on Nov. 26 due to decreasing demand for the company’s coal. 

With more layoffs expected to come down the chute later this week, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) issued public statements on Nov. 29 supporting the coal miners who lost their jobs and placing the blame on the Biden Administration. 

“It is disheartening and disappointing to have the Black Butte Mine lay off employees, at any time, but this is particularly troubling as we enter the holiday season,” Gordon said. “This layoff is directly linked to the Biden Administration’s refusal to approve the mine expansion application which has been languishing before the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Office of Surface Mining and Environmental Enforcement for years.”

U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (File photo)

Gordon said he had brought the issue before OSMRE leadership and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in April and spoke with Haaland again in November about the possibility of layoffs while the DOI continues to throw up additional paper obstacles despite the mine going through multiple rounds of environmental reviews. 

“Let’s be clear, this is about coal. That coal could be used at the Jim Bridger Power Plant as part of their plan to use carbon capture,” Gordon said. “We just learned that part of the rate increase requested by Rocky Mountain Power was due to the price of coal, gas, and renewables — clearly there must be a demand for coal for power. Yet, the [DOI] prefers to lay off Wyoming workers rather than allow the mining of additional coal reserves within an already existing permit. 

Lummis issued a similar statement shortly after Gordon’s, saying the state is witnessing the tragic reality of Biden’s Green New Deal agenda first-hand. 

“My heart breaks for the Black Butte Coal Company employees losing their jobs,” Lummis said. “Their hard work keeps the lights and heat on in Wyoming during frigid winter nights and they deserve our gratitude.”

Lummis said seeing good people lose their jobs is tragic and that it is the direct result of the Biden Administration’s war on domestic energy production, particularly coal. 

“America needs coal, as evidenced by the fact it is the 3rd largest energy source for the country’s grid, and Wyoming needs coal miners,” Lummis said.