Wyoming Files Third Lawsuit Over EPA's Rules Designed To Kill Off Coal Industry

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday that the state has filed a third lawsuit challenging new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency which will destroy the coal industry.

Pat Maio

May 30, 20243 min read

Mix Collage 30 May 2024 05 06 PM 6349
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon is heaping on the litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the hopes of keeping the energy-rich Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming producing coal well beyond the early 2040s.

Gordon announced Thursday that Wyoming has filed a third lawsuit challenging new rules from the EPA targeting the coal industry. 

The state has joined two East Coast states -- West Virginia and Georgia -- along with 19 other states challenging recently released power plant regulations from the EPA designed to regulate coal and natural gas-fired power plants out of existence over the next decade and undermine Wyoming’s economy.

On May 9, Gordon filed a pair of lawsuits challenging the rules that push the relevance of coal as a revenue stream to the backburner in America.  

EPA’s rules are designed to force the early retirement of electricity generating power plants fueled with coal and gas.

The rules do not offer “any genuine scientific interest in protecting human health and the environment,” according to a statement issued by Gordon on Thursday.

Wyoming’s lawsuit argues that the final rules exceed EPA’s statutory authority and “is otherwise arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law,” Gordon said.

“Yet again we are compelled to challenge the unlawful and ill-conceived rulemaking of the Biden administration’s EPA to defend the interests of our core industries, including coal, as well as protect consumers from burdensome regulations that increase energy costs and threaten our nation’s energy supply, while doing little or nothing for the environment,” Gordon said.

Wyoming’s participation in the three lawsuits are funded through creation of a coal-fired facility closures litigation funding account created as part of new state law in 2021.  

The coal industry is caught in a pitch fork battle for survival. 

The industry has been hit with projections about cuts in coal production expected this year out of St. Louis-based behemoths Arch Resources Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp., with overall coal volume in the first three months of the year down more than 20% over the same period last year.

Coal leasing on federal land in the PRB has brought in billions of dollars in revenue to Wyoming and its coal mining industry, as it supplies roughly 40% of the thermal coal needed by power plants owned by electric utilities in the United States.

Pat Maio can be reached at pat@cowboystatedaily.com.

Share this article



Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.