- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - Arch Coal has met its bonding requirements and remains in compliance with its state mining permits despite concerns raised by landowner groups, according to a letter to the groups from a Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality official.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council and Western Organization of Resource Councils filed a complaint Dec. 16 saying the St. Louis-based coal company is mining coal without setting aside sufficient funds to reclaim land it has disturbed.

The department’s Land Quality Division reviewed Arch Western Resources’ bonding in September and found the Arch subsidiary’s 2014 finances to be adequate, division Administrator Kyle Wendtland wrote to the groups Monday.

The department doesn’t intend to write a notice of violation or conduct an inspection based on the complaint, Wendtland wrote.

The next review, to be conducted next year, will look at the subsidiary’s 2015 year-end, audited financial reports. Meanwhile, the Land Quality Division has requested quarterly financial reports from the company, Wendtland wrote.

Resource council officials declined to comment Wednesday.

Arch operates the Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines in Wyoming. The company posted a $2 billion loss in the third quarter and says bankruptcy is possible.

Under federal law, coal companies must post bond or make other arrangements to ensure that adequate funding exists to fill in and restore to a natural state any mines that close.

Arch Coal is among coal mining companies Wyoming allows to self-bond, or provide financial assurances in lieu of setting aside funds.


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