February 5, 2018 Read More →

CEO’s Past May Torpedo Company’s Plans to Acquire Wyoming Mines

Casper Star-Tribune:

In December, a brand new company called Blackjewel LLC announced plans to buy two Wyoming coal mines. They were considered the “crown jewels” of former coal giant Alpha Natural Resources, and Blackjewel said the mines held promise despite declines in the coal market.

By mid-January the fate of that future had hit a few snags.

Blackjewel’s owner, eastern coal CEO Jeff Hoops, owns mines across Appalachia. Some of them carry violations serious enough that regulators threatened to shut the mines down until they were resolved. The past issues have slowed down the transfer of ownership of the Wyoming mines in recent weeks and are causing some here to sound alarms about their potential new Powder River Basin neighbor.

For a sale of coal mines to go through, Wyoming regulators have to sign off on two important transfers: the coal leases and the coal permits.

Pending federal violations can hold both of those processes. Though Blackjewel is a new company, its CEO is not new to coal, and violations travel with their owner, said Kyle Wendtland, administrator of the Land Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality.

On Jan. 16, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality informed Blackjewel via a letter that the department could not transfer the mine leases due to more than 20 outstanding violations listed for Hoop’s company in West Virginia, Revelation Energy.

The violations would stand in the way of Blackjewel’s next hurdle: obtaining the mining operations in Wyoming. A total of 13 outstanding violations were downgraded this week after Revelation challenged them, said John Mura, spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

More: Eastern violations follow coal CEO to Wyoming as mine transfers hit snags

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