After 17 years, Two Elk officials say they will begin construction in January 2014, if markets ‘solidify.’
I come from Gillette, so I’m familiar with the time-honored tradition among many in the coal mining industry to declare during presidential campaigns that the Democratic candidate (fill in blank) will shut down the coal industry if elected. Some have gone so far as to hand out stickers to miners on election day stating “VOTE RIGHT” and suggesting their jobs may depend on it.
The notion is that all Democrats just think coal is icky and, heck, why not switch off — over night — the fuel that powers nearly half of the nation’s electricity? This notion about Democrats and coal is entirely outlandish (see: Democrat Dave Freudenthal, former Wyoming governor, joins board of Arch Coal Inc.), but it’s part of America’s political discourse.
America’s No. 2 coal-producer, Arch Coal Inc., announced last week that it paid $25 million to acquire 38 percent interest in Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, LLC, one of dozens of companies scrambling to boost coal export capacity from the West Coast to customers in Asia.
With the Millennium Bulk deal, Arch joins Peabody Energy Corp. — both major producers of Powder River Basin coal in Wyoming — in banking on the Asian coal market for growth. Wyoming coal producers Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy and railroads Union Pacific and BNSF Railway have all expressed interest in boosting coal exports from the West Coast.