In a March letter addressed to President Donald Trump and congressional leadership, the National Mining Association had urged federal officials to relieve coal companies of obligatory royalties and other fees in order to maintain healthy cash flow and keep coal mines running.
But some citizen groups have been skeptical of the aid falling in coal company pockets. Critics questioned if corporations, like those running some of the nation’s largest coal mines, should even qualify for the aid, which lawmakers intended to dedicate to small businesses across the country.
“NTEC in particular is the third largest coal company in the nation,” said Shannon Anderson, a staff attorney with the landowner organization, Powder River Basin Resource Council. “That doesn’t seem like a small business.”
“These (coal) companies were struggling prior to COVID-19,” Anderson added. “Certainly COVID-19 has exacerbated the coal industry’s troubles, but those started long before the pandemic and it seems to be taking advantage of a program that was designed for somebody else.”
Read More: Wyoming coal firms receive federal aid for mines | Energy Journal