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A Wyoming town looks beyond coal ... to new uses for coal « Back to Search Results

Coal has driven Wyoming’s economy for decades — the state sits on a rich abundance of coal reserves. But the world is slowly moving away from coal as other forms of energy have become cheaper and environmental concerns mount. Coal burns dirty and produces a lot of greenhouse gasses that fuel climate change.

Add it up and coal towns are at a crossroads.

The Wyoming city of Gillette, population 32,000, is surrounded by coal mines. The city is located in the Powder River Basin, an area of Montana and Wyoming known for its coal deposits.

“We're called the energy capital of the nation because we have been supplying the nation with energy, about 30 to 40 percent, [for] the last 30 years,” says Louise Carter-King, Gillette’s mayor.

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