Governor Matt Mead announced an agreement with Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., that protects Wyoming and facilitates Alpha’s efforts to reorganize, continue operations and retain its employees while in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy proceedings were filed by the company last month.
The agreement gives Wyoming a $61 million “superpriority” claim in the bankruptcy proceedings for reclamation at the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines in Wyoming. The company’s reclamation bond amount is $411 million and the entire bond is a lower creditor priority. Wyoming would now have a better position on the first $61 million and retain the entire obligation. Significantly, the agreement allows Alpha to operate the mines while the bankruptcy proceeds.
“This allows Alpha an opportunity to stay in business,” said Governor Mead. “The alternative would cost jobs and leave Wyoming taxpayers holding the bag for reclamation. Here, Wyoming will move to the front of the line for a significant part of its reclamation claim.”
The agreement requires Alpha to continue reclamation activities in conformity with the existing plans. If it fails to do so, Wyoming can take appropriate enforcement action.
The agreement was filed with the bankruptcy court today, and the court must approve the agreement before it goes into effect.