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The Path to a Cleaner Future in Wyoming’s Coal Country « Back to Search Results

For nearly 40 years, Wyoming has been the largest coal producer in the United States. Its communities and their identities have been inextricably tied to the resource, an identity that many people are now grappling with as coal continues to lose its footing in the energy market. 

In 2017, Wyoming produced 80,374 thousand short tons of coal, a sharp decline from the 387,924 thousand short tons it produced in 2013. A massive increase in instances of job loss and company shutdowns followed the decline in production. According to a Wyoming Research and Planning report, between 2014 and 2016, approximately 25,000 people were laid off because of the state’s economic downturn (Tribune)

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Fast Fact Image

Upton is located 70 miles east of thirteen open pit coal mines, including the Thunder Basin Coal Mine, the nation's largest. You can arrange to have guided tours to learn more about this critical industry in northeast Wyoming. Upton and Newcastle are on the railroad right-of-way that ships most of the coal to midwestern and eastern markets. There is an average of 75 Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad trains that pass through Weston County daily. This is a train watchers heaven!