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“Coal mining provides stability and security to local communities, no question about it,” said Colorado Mining Association President Stuart Sanderson. “But the industry is threatened by regulations that discourage and threaten coal use.”

Despite a recent uptick in coal production in Colorado, the long-term trend is one of decline, with production falling from almost 40 million tons in 2004 to 25 million tons in 2010, said Mr. Sanderson.

The Obama campaign has called for an “all of the above” approach to energy that includes ‘clean coal,’ but industry officials are irked that the president failed to mention coal in his State of the Union address.

Unemployment in Moffat County, which includes Craig, was 8.3 percent in April, slightly higher than the state average of 7.8 percent.

c This story based in part on wire service reports.