SHERIDAN — Ramaco Carbon CEO and chairman Randall Atkins issued a statement Thursday morning expressing disappointment in the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s decision requiring the company to make revisions and resubmit its application for the Brook Mine.
The proposed mine, to be located between Sheridan and Ranchester, is part of Lexington, Kentucky-based Ramaco Carbon LLC’s plan to turn coal into products like carbon fiber for the automobile industry. The project also includes plans for research and manufacturing facilities.
“There is never a victory for Wyoming when the creation of high quality jobs and opportunities in coal/carbon innovation, manufacturing and energy technology for Wyoming’s current and future generations is deferred or prevented,” Atkins said in an emailed statement.
The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council ruled late last month that Ramaco’s plans for the mine didn’t offer enough environmental protections.
Neighbors, the Powder River Basin Resource Council and Big Horn Coal Company have expressed concerns about Ramaco’s plans throughout the permitting process. Concerns included water, blasting, traffic and reclamation issues. Major points of disparity included the completeness of the water and subsidence studies.
According to the letter written to Atkins and provided by a Ramaco spokesperson, WDEQ Director Todd Parfitt said he had determined that the Brook Mine permit application cannot be approved in its present form. He added, though, that the decision includes a process through which the application can be supplemented to address the deficiencies identified by the EQC. The EQC pointed to the need for a complete hydrologic impact assessment and highlighted deficiencies in the area of hydrology, subsidence and the applicant’s blasting plan.
Atkins expressed disappointment in WDEQ’s decision.
“After five years of working to advance carbon and coal technology in Wyoming, Ramaco Carbon is understandably disappointed that the Wyoming DEQ will now require the Brook Mine to continue the mine permit process, without a permit issuance at this time,” he said in his written statement. “We appreciate, however, that the DEQ will allow Ramaco Carbon to now supplement its current application. We are confident we will be able to address the mining and technical concerns raised by the EQC in a timely manner.”
Atkins added that the company’s representatives look forward to meeting with WDEQ to begin the process of supplementing the permit application.
Representatives from the Powder River Basin Resource Council said they were working on a statement in response to WDEQ’s decision, but that was not available by press time.