CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Federal regulators are giving Wyoming officials more time to explain why they approved less-than-full bonding for two coal mining companies that have filed for bankruptcy.
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement originally gave the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality 10 days to respond to notices Jan. 21.
On Monday, the federal agency extended the deadline to Feb. 22 for Arch Coal’s bonding and until Feb. 12 for Alpha Natural Resources’ bonding. Each company operates two mines in Wyoming and both have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Bonding helps ensure cleanup of industrial sites. Environmental groups say the coal companies might prove unable to pay for filling in the mines should the mines close.
DEQ officials sought a longer extension but say they’re working to respond in time.