While leaders have a duty to help bring high-paying jobs to the area, the business or person initiating each project must also do his part. Project leaders must operate with integrity, due diligence and with respect to neighbors who could be affected by the change. Careful steps should be taken to minimize negative impacts and to protect our natural resources and western quality of life.

The project proposed by Ramaco (which has various subsidiaries and connected operations under other names), could be another big break for Sheridan County, much like the recently announced move of Weatherby, Inc. to the area. While the jobs created within the manufacturing and research facilities may only number around one or two dozen, they would add to the local economy, and the potential for expansion certainly exists.

The proposed Brook Mine, which would provide coal for the Ramaco facilities, could bring even more jobs to the area. These are all good things. 

Ramaco and its representatives, though, haven’t always presented themselves as good neighbors. Nearby landowners have expressed frustrations with the lack of information provided by the company, the unwillingness to hear concerns and, most recently, “false personal attacks” against those who oppose or want more protections established within the project.

In a filing with Sheridan County, Ramaco’s attorney stated that “Sheridan will not grow and develop in a valuable way by just adding more coffee shops. It needs real jobs that generate serious new economic activity and taxes.” That statement diminishes the hard work of small business owners and doesn’t belong in an application to the county for a new project. In fact, the half-dozen or so coffee shops in town likely employ (as a combined total) a similar number of individuals Ramaco proposes to hire for its research and manufacturing facilities initially.

If it’s necessary to belittle the hard work of others to advance your cause, you need to examine the cause you champion and perhaps try another tactic. Public relations matter, and Ramaco has some work to do.