The Powder River Basin in the Western United States provides cheap, abundant coal. But even there, two major coal mines have shuttered due to economic challenges facing America’s coal sector.
Blackjewel, the owner of the two mines in the basin, declared bankruptcy Monday, planning to reorganize and stay afloat. Then bank financing fell through and the mines abruptly shuttered.
“Yesterday was kind of like a heart attack in the Powder River Basin,” said Robert Godby, energy economist at the University of Wyoming. “It was a kind of out-of-the-blue outcome. People woke up that morning thinking they had a job. And by the end of the day they didn’t.”
Click the audio player above to hear the full story.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.