US agency asked to investigate coal company's bond capacity
BILLINGS, Mont. —
Federal officials are being asked to investigate whether a financially-troubled coal company has posted sufficient bonds to cover future reclamation work at its mines in the U.S. and Canada.
The Montana-based Western Organization of Resource Councils said Wednesday that it's concerned a bankruptcy by Westmoreland Coal could leave taxpayers to cover future reclamation costs. It asked the Interior Department to investigate.
The Englewood, Colorado company told The Associated Press in a statement that it's in full compliance with mining regulations.
Westmoreland disclosed last month to securities regulators that it's considering filing for bankruptcy protection. It reported posting $673 million in reclamation bonds and letters of credit.
Westmoreland sold 50 million tons of coal last year from its mines in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota, Ohio, Alberta and Saskatchewan.