The Future of Coal in Utah

 

OPTIONS Counties in central Utah have a number of natural strengths. As the backbone of the regional economy, coal mining and coal-fired power production activities affect the counties in many significant ways. These counties need to take steps that will allow them to face a changing landscape. Leaders need to think strategically. Therefore, the value of this plan is its future scenarios. Nevertheless, the options below are presented as a starting place for considering ideas and opportunities to help these communities succeed - regardless of the scenario that plays out for the coal industry.
"The future of coal is bright, it's just not bright in America." - Mayor Joe Piccolo
OPTIONS - 1 Federal Lands 1. Foster agreements between federal agencies and mineral development companies 2. Work with private sector leaders to articulate highest-priority regions for development 3. Work with BLM to increase the area of solar zones 4. Work with PLPCO to inventory options for lands that might be acquired 5. Encourage State legislators to seek legal action against the federal government to secure development rights on federal lands
OPTIONS - 2 Federal Emissions Regulations 1. Coordinate with the Division of Air Quality and Office of Energy to develop the best implementation plan for upcoming CO2 regulations 2. Coordinate with Rocky Mountain Power to determine their long-term plans and prepare for possible shifts in their energy generation portfolio 3. Encourage development of clean coal technologies to assist in meeting federal regulations 4. Coordinate concerns with the Governor’s Office of Energy to make sure issues are understood 5. Seek state and federal clean coal incentives in addition to or in place of regulations 6. Dedicate a portion of industry tax revenue to help train power plant and coal workers in new industries, especially entreprenuership 7. Prepare for potential coal-fired power plant shutdowns by inviting foreign power companies to tour Utah’s facilities (as potential buyers)
OPTIONS - 3 Economic Diversity 1. Support strategic infrastructure investments including pipelines, roadways, and railways 2. Incentivize start-ups and new businesses 3. Work with the Governor’s Office of Energy Development to seek new opportunities 4. Inventory county and regional assets (natural resources, current companies, etc.) 5. Improve county websites and economic development websites to enhance marketing 6. Explore partnerships in new industries, specifically tourism 7. Prepare for potential coal-fired power plant shutdowns by inviting foreign power companies to tour Utah’s facilities (as potential buyers)
OPTIONS - 4 Public Opinion 1. Develop fact-based materials about the benefits of coal for education and media outlets along the Wasatch Front (i.e. National Energy Foundation) 2. Highlight the efficiency of Utah’s plants when compared to other operations 3. Help mines and power plants maintain close contact with schools and employment agencies
OPTIONS - 5 Technology 1. Seek clean coal technology tax incentives from the state and Federal Government 2. Encourage clean coal research at Utah State University-Eastern by investing in scholarships or competitions for clean-coal technologies 3. Adopt an “all-of-the-above” energy approach by welcoming any energy tech advancements and implementing them locally