coal colowyo craig (copy)

The Colowyo open-pit coal mine near Craig, Colorado, on Sept. 19, 2018.


Colorado coal production dips in 2018

Production at Colorado coal mines dipped slightly last year from 2017  levels.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety says the state's six producing mines, all located in western Colorado, produced a total of about 14.3 million tons in 2018. That compares to about 15.2 million tons the agency reported in 2017.

The state says that as of the end of 2018, 1,160 coal miners worked in Colorado, up slightly from 1,119 at the end of 2017.

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, Colorado ranked 10th as of 2017 in coal production, with Wyoming far out front in output that year, at more than 316 million tons.



Firm joins project to build new supersonic aircraft

An Alabama firm is partnering with a Colorado company to build a manufacturing facility that would produce supersonic aircraft.

Hoar Program Management of Birmingham will help locate, plan, design and build the facility for Centennial-based Boom Supersonic, which is planning a supersonic commercial airliner for transoceanic routes.

Boom Supersonic was founded in 2014, and has announced pre-orders of the Overture from airlines including Japan Airlines and Virgin Group, the Alabama news site reported.

"They were looking for a partner," HPM President Mike Lanier said. "We're humbled by the fact that we're being brought in this early to help them establish who they are."

The Overture is described as a supersonic commercial airliner with travel speeds more than twice as fast as subsonic aircraft. Boom is now assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. That aircraft's test flights will help refine the design of Overture.



Man charged for throwing water on Iowa Rep. Steve King

A Lafayette man faces misdemeanor charges for allegedly throwing water on Iowa Rep. Steve King while the Republican congressman was eating lunch in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Blake Gibbins was arrested March 22 at the Mineral City Mill and Grill. The 26-year-old is charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

Fort Dodge police say in a news release that Gibbins approached King's group and asked King who he was. When King replied, Gibbins allegedly threw a glass of water on him. Police say others seated at the table also got wet.

King has drawn criticism for racist statements. House Republican leaders this year stripped King of his committee assignments. Still, the nine-term congressman has said he will seek re-election in 2020.



Utility finds groundwater contaminants near coal station

Officials say contaminants are present in groundwater near the Platte River Power Authority's Rawhide Energy Station in Wellington, and reports suggest the coal-fired facility may be the cause.

Platte River Power Authority Environmental Compliance Manager Chris Wood says high levels of selenium and cobalt were detected during routine groundwater monitoring around the Rawhide station in 2018. The findings, along with suggestions for corrective action, were released in two company reports at the end of January.

The facility provides power to the cities of Loveland, Longmont, Fort Collins and Estes Park.



Man guilty of $7.2M renewable energy tax scam

A Parker man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a scheme in which he and others filed false claims for tax credits under a federal program that encourages production and use of renewable energy.

Matthew Taylor pleaded guilty March 22 in federal court in Denver to conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.

According to a U.S. Justice Department news release, Taylor and others created a fake company and from 2010 to 2013 filed claims with the IRS for over $7.2 million in tax credits for renewable fuel produced.

Prosecutors say the company produced no qualifying renewable fuel.

They say Taylor personally netted at least $4.5 million from the scheme.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6.


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