State Rejects Federal Government Accusations Of Wrongdoing

Jul 15, 2016

In a strongly-worded letter sent Friday, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality accuses the federal government of “political theater.”

The letter is in response to a months-long back and forth about problems with Alpha Natural Resources’ clean-up obligations. On July 12, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement told state regulators they had acted inappropriately when addressing the coal company’s clean-up obligations.

Alpha was allowed to prioritize just a fraction of its estimated clean-up costs while going through bankruptcy. The federal government says the state should have required the Alpha to fully insure its reclamation obligations. The state argues that the company would have been forced to liquidate under those circumstances. The letter goes on to assert that the federal government does not have the authority to question DEQ's decision-making in this situation.