Power to the People: Wyoming Residents Reject First New Coal Mine in Decades

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Coal vs wind in the cowboy state

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By Joe McCarthy

Wyoming produces 40 percent of the U.S.’s coal, nearly quadruple the amount produced by West Virginia, the second highest producer.  So far this year, production in the state has increased by 15 million tons.

 Yet Wyoming hasn’t opened a new coal mine in decades—long-standing mines are filling the demand.

And it looks like the state might not open a new mine anytime soon.

The state currently produces the fourth most wind energy in the country and 100 percent of all new energy in capacity in Wyoming will come from renewable energy between 2016-2019, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

As citizens continue to see the benefits of wind energy through more jobs and the environmental hazards of coal energy, the calculus of state legislators could change.

Blocking a new coal mine shows the power of the public. Pushing for more wind energy would do the same.’

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