CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said during a Thursday, April 23 that Workforce Services is working to address workers who have been laid off at Powder River Basin mines in Campbell County.
County 17 reported on Thursday that Peabody Energy Corporation has laid off 170 employees at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine and that Navajo Transitional Energy Company have laid off 57 employees at the Antelope Mine in Campbell County.
Navajo Transitional Energy Company also laid off 73 employees at Montana’s Spring Creek Mine.
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“I don’t think anyone is prepared for the kind of losses that we’ve seen periodically over the last couple of years,” Gordon said. “This one is particularly painful in that it’s driven so much by a complete downward trend in the economy globally.”
“We’ve never indicated that the state is going to bounce back from this with any ease, it’s going to take a lot of diligence.”
Looking at new enterprises to bring into Wyoming, like manufacturing and other opportunities. COVID-19 that has hit populated urban areas particularly hard might make Wyoming an attractive alternative.
“This is really a formative time for Wyoming in so many ways, and I think it is important that we have our eyes open and look towards our future,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he talked to officials at Powder River Basin “a day or two ago and we started working with Workforce Services to make sure that we had resources available and ready for those affected workers right away.”
“I will say the company is providing severance packages and additional support for career placement and other aspects, but none of that brings back those jobs,” he added. “The decline of coal in our electric generation in this nation was last year the lowest electricity that has been generated since 1993, and coal’s share of that production fell from 23 percent to 17 percent.”
“Sadly, that was something that (Powder River Basin) could not support and so these are big issues for Wyoming.
Gordon said the state is looking for ways to bring better retraining in, looking at resources such as community colleges and the university to find solutions.
“Our hearts go out to that community,” he added.