Trump’s vow to revive coal country is met with measured hope
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) — The hard-eyed view along the Tug Fork River in West Virginia coal country is that President-elect Donald Trump has something to prove: that he’ll help bring back Appalachian mining, as he promised campaigning.
Nobody thinks he can revive it entirely — not economists, not ex-miners, not even those recently called back to work.
But coal towns are seeing one commodity that had grown scarce: measured hope.
Trump vowed to undo looming federal rules threatening to further drive coal under.
Last year, the nation had about 66,000 coal mining jobs — down 20,000 in less than a decade.
Mines out west stand to gain the most with huge coal reserves beneath public lands.
Industry executives caution that competition from low natural gas prices and pressure to cut smokestack emissions will continue.
APNewsBreak: US moves to block mining near Yellowstone
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials are blocking new mining claims outside Yellowstone National Park as the Obama administration races in its last days to keep industry out of natural areas.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was scheduled to be in Montana on Monday to announce that mining claims on 30,000 acres will be prohibited for two years while a long-term ban is considered.
The Associated Press obtained details of the move in advance.
Two gold exploration projects are proposed in the Yellowstone area. Monday’s action does not explicitly block those projects, but officials say it could make large-scale mining more difficult.
Interior officials last week blocked new oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean and cancelled 25 oil and gas leases in western Colorado and 15 in northwestern Montana.
State proposes plant to treat runoff polluting Belt Creek
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — The state is proposing to build a plant to treat acid mine drainage from an old coal mine that is polluting Belt Creek, sometimes causing it to turn a rusty color and harming the trout fishery.
The Great Falls Tribune reports the Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss water treatment plant options that range in cost from $7 million to $28 million to build and operate for 100 years.
Groundwater seeping into abandoned underground mines reacts with minerals, creating acid mine drainage. DEQ project manager Tom Henderson says the metal-laden water runs into Belt Creek at the rate of about 100 gallons per minute.
Most of the treatment options involve using lime to lower the water’s acidity. Another involves filtering the water.
Woman sentenced in theft of $30,000 from former employer
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A former Neptune Aviation employee has taken a deferred sentence in the theft of $30,000 from the company.
The Missoulian reports 42-year-old Tera Christine Pyron will be on probation for six years and has to reimburse the money with interest, perform community service and pay a $2,500 fine.
Pyron said she’s paid back $15,000 so far.
Personal purchases made on a company credit card included nail polish, clothing and golf clubs.
Pyron told the judge that she thought she was making a better life for family.
Hunter kills dear with fatal wildlife disease
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A hunter has killed a buck mule deer in the Shoshone National Forest that tested positive for a fatal neurological disorder.
The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports this is the third hunting area near Yellowstone National Park where chronic wasting disease has been found.
Scott Edberg of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said in a statement that this recent case is not a surprise.
He said this shows the importance of a management plan and increased surveillance in western Wyoming.
The disease impacts elk, moose and deer.
Student from South Dakota chosen as Rhodes Scholar for 2017
WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man is among the 32 Americans who have been chosen as Rhodes Scholars and will pursue post-graduate studies at Oxford University in England.
Joshua Carter, of Watertown, will pursue a master’s degree in clinical neuroscience at Oxford. The Rhodes Trust announced the scholars-elect for 2017 Sunday.
Carter will graduate from Montana State University with dual degrees in mechanical engineering and microbiology. He volunteers at a nonprofit that helps children with disabilities and also leads an organization that builds bicycles for disadvantaged children.
The 2017 scholars-elect were chosen from 882 applicants who were endorsed by 311 colleges and universities. The scholarships cover all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford starting next October. In some instances, the scholarships may allow funding for four years.