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Wyo. landowners fighting planned Ramaco coal mine

Landowners and environmental groups are charging that Ramaco LLC's plans for a new mine in Wyoming are contradictory, creating a new roadblock for the proposed Powder River Basin operation.

"The permit application was very vague. It didn't provide a lot of details, it conflicted with company statements about their plans for the area. It just raised a lot of concerns with a lot of people," Shannon Anderson, an organizer with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The PRBRC said it and 15 landowners and residents of Sheridan County, Wyo., filed objections Jan. 27 to Ramaco's proposed Brook mine over concerns that the proximity of the mine could affect their property, health, safety and quality of life.

According to documents posted by the Casper Star-Tribune, the PRBRC said the Brook mine is "based on a plan that will never occur" since it provides estimates of annual production and the life of the mine that directly conflict with statements made by Ramaco's representatives. Some of these statements have contradicted each other, as well, the PRBRC said.

The environmental group also said in a release that the proposed reclamation bond of $371,957 was too small to guarantee a cleanup of land and water resources. Other objections concern alleged contradictions about how the coal will be stored and transported out of the mine, and impacts on water, conservation easements, traffic and road use, among other things.

"We think they need to start addressing some concerns," Anderson said. "This is a new company. They don't have a track record, they don't seem to have a lot of local presence."

The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council had granted consent to Ramaco to move forward in the permitting process for the mine in September 2016 when it faced other challenges in a dispute with Lighthouse Resources Inc., a neighboring landowner, and a local rancher. The neighbors said Ramaco had failed to get their consent before moving forward, but the WEQC voted unanimously to allow consent.

Ramaco did not respond to a request for comment.