Coal: It's What Many Coloradans Are Talking About for Christmas

December 9 2010, 10:30 AM

The state's Public Utilities Commission is still grappling with how to reduce air pollution along the Front Range while also allowing Xcel Energy to meet the demands of consumers. While several power plants are slated to be shut down or converted to run cleaner (on natural gas instead of coal) in the coming years, the fate of the large Cherokee 4 unit remains up in the air, with discussions continuing today, according to The Associated Press. But what's good for Front Rangers may not be so great for coal miners on the Western Slope. KUNC points out that miners in remote Moffat County are worried the new energy regulations driving changes such as Xcel's will diminish, if not entirely wipe out, their livelihoods.

That doesn't appear to be the case in Trinidad, where The Pueblo Chieftain reports that the New Elk Mine has re-opened. Currently with 90 workers, the number of employees could double in the coming year. But there's a difference between the two mining areas. Trinidad's miners aren't digging up the kind of coal that's burned in power plants. Toronto-based Cline Mining, which bought New Elk in 2008, wants to mine coking coal for use in making steel, a product that's in high demand, particularly in Asia, notes The Associated Press.