WYOMING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COUNCIL DISMISSES PERMIT APPEAL AND GRANTS BROOK MINE TO MOVE FORWARD
December 17, 2020
SHERIDAN, WY — Following a hearing on December 16th, the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council (“EQC”) dismissed an appeal meant to delay the Brook Mine, the state’s first coal mine in over forty years. In doing so the EQC affirmed the grant of the mine and reclamation permit issued by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”), who had formally approved the mine permit in July. The new mine will be located in the historic mining area north of Sheridan.
Coal technology firm Ramaco Carbon, owner of the Brook Mine, has worked with the DEQ for nearly a decade on the mine permit. The mine will supply coal for both the company’s research activity and ultimately for manufacturing of advanced carbon products and materials, as opposed to the traditional use of thermal coal for electricity. The appeal was brought by the Powder River Basin Resource Council (“PRBRC”), which has spent over six years attempting to delay or stop the new mine. The failed appeal marks the mine’s final roadblock before development.
Ramaco attorney Pat Crank of the Crank Legal Group commended the DEQ and EQC for their thoughtful and deliberate analysis, and decision to affirm the mine permit. Crank said, “The EQC recognized the amazing work that the DEQ staff did in issuing this permit.”
The Brook Mine and Ramaco Carbon have been vocally supported by a wide range of Wyoming business and economic leaders, and dozens of state legislators and officials. Following its approval this summer, DEQ Director Todd Parfitt praised the “incredible amount of time and effort” put into ensuring the permit had sound environmental and quality of life protections.
PRBRC is the only group to oppose the mine. According to filings with the IRS, the organization has not reported receiving membership fees from Wyoming citizens (www.prbrcfacts.com). Instead, the PRBRC is primarily funded through out-of-state coastal environmental groups and activists like Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. These groups are opposed to virtually all fossil fuel activities.
After the ruling, Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins issued a statement:
“We are delighted that the EQC has brought this almost decade-long permit odyssey to an end. We salute the professionalism of the DEQ, and look forward to going to work developing our coal-to-products technology platform.
“Out of state, anti-fossil fuel megadonors have for years used a front organization called the PRBRC to oppose any positive resource development in Wyoming. This frivolous opposition has unfortunately cost Wyoming new jobs and taxpayers money while delaying our ability to do business. The EQC fortunately, and wisely for Wyoming, has put a stop to this.”
Ramaco Carbon is a carbon technology company, based in Sheridan, Wyoming, with operations in both Wyoming and West Virginia. It has focused on the use of coal to create advanced carbon products and materials, such as carbon fibers, building products, rare earth minerals, a variety of graphene-based products. The company is building the nation’s first vertically integrated carbon tech platform, which includes the Brook Mine, the iCAM research park campuses in Wyoming and West Virginia, and the future iPark mine-mouth manufacturing facilities.