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Fifteen of the workers will move to jobs at the neighboring surface mine, and 10 will retire. The company expects another 10–12 positions to open at the surface mine before the closure. That leaves upwards of 50 workers lacking a clear path to employment after November.

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In a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, whose vast Energy Infrastructure Act carries a $95 million price tag, Barrasso negotiated a change to the proposed reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program that aims to lessen the burden on coal producers without jeopardizing reclamation funds.

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Jeff A. Wendland and four other workers were adding a section to the boom of a 200-ton crane at Black Thunder mine when fell onto the right side of his shoulder and neck area.

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The Powder River Basin’s coal workforce shrunk by about 6% Thursday with the layoff of 300 workers from three mines.