Monday, December 29, 2003
Steamboat Springs Routt County commissioners will meet with Twentymile Coal representatives today to discuss the tentative sale of the coal company, decreases in grants from the Energy Impact Fund and potential railroad line relocations.
"The commissioners are interested (and want) to make sure our coal interests are taken care of," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.
The possible sale of the company to Peabody Energy was announced last week. The transaction isn't scheduled to conclude until mid-2004. Peabody is the owner of Seneca Coal Company, also in Routt County.
How the sale would impact transportation, road maintenance and local employees is important to the county, Monger said. The commissioners said they are optimistic that if a sale goes through, the county's relationship with Peabody Energy will be strong.
The possible decrease in grants from the Energy Impact Fund, which was announced several weeks ago as a solution to help balance the state's budget, is something county commissioners have said they do not support and are hoping that the coal company also will oppose the suggestion.
The grants, which come from the state's Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program, may decrease by about $5 million to help fund the Department of Local Affairs, a change suggested by the Joint Budget Committee.
During the past five years, Routt County has received more than $9 million in grants from local mineral and energy impact funds, money that goes towards public projects such as roads, public safety, water and sewer, and buildings.
The decrease in grant money could result in 33 percent less in available energy impact grants, officials have said.
The Joint Budget Committee also is considering using the local government Energy Impact Fund to support a large-scale Front Range railroad relocation project.
Commissioners oppose the move. The relocation could make Wyoming coal more competitive in Colorado markets, Commis-sioner Dan Ellison said.
Commissioners meet with mine representatives twice per year.
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