Noelle Leavitt Riley: Sifting through coal’s regulatory climate |

Noelle Leavitt Riley: Sifting through coal’s regulatory climate

A cloud of political smoke makes it difficult to see into the future of America’s coal industry.

In 2014, the Craig Daily Press realized that producing a special section focused solely on energy was not only good for our readers but also a fantastic way to learn about the dichotomy of where the industry was headed.

Much has happened in the United States’ coal industy since 2014, making it an easy decision for the Craig Daily Press to produce its second installment of The Energy Blend. You can find the section inside of today’s newspaper.

This year’s edition focuses on what’s next for the Clean Power Plan, how companies are working to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into a profit, and the intricacies of what the closure of Craig Station’s Unit 1 really means for our community.

We also uncovered news about Deserado Mine and what’s next for the underground coal mine that has a small presence in Moffat County.

No matter how you look at the future of coal, one thing is certain — our community currently is tied to its presence as our No. 1 economic driver.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a story about how a town in Washington is battling roadblocks from environmentalists and lobbyists to export coal to Asia.

Adding to the mix of coal woes is a state ballot initiative that, if passed, would impose a $25 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions. That sounds scary, and many fear that if it’s passed in the state of Washington, other states — maybe even the nation — would follow suit.

Let’s do the math to see what that would mean for Craig Station if such a tax was ever passed in Colorado. In 2014, Craig Station produced roughly 9.3 million tons of CO2. Multiply that by $25 a ton, and that equates to $233 million dollars a year. Whoa.

How can any company weather such a tax on an annual basis?

The good news is that as these issues unfold, we will be here, delivering information on all important energy news to keep you informed.

The New York Times article also had a captivating quote that I will leave you with. It came from Clark Williams-Derry, the director of energy finance for the Sightline Institute, a nonprofit based in Seattle, Washington, that researches environmental policy.

“These things are zombies,” Williams-Derry told the New York Times. “They never quite die. They keep shambling forward even when their economic heart has stopped beating.”

Noelle Leavitt Riley is the editor of the Craig Daily Press. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or at Leavitt Riley is the editor of the Craig Daily Press. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or at Leavitt Riley is the editor of the Craig Daily Press. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or at

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