Group Says DEQ Denied Them Hearing on Ramaco

A Sheridan County resident said Tuesday that she and other landowners were denied a hearing by Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality, also known as the DEQ, regarding a proposal by Kentucky-based Ramaco to mine coal from the Brook Mine north of Sheridan.

Joan Tellez made the accusation at a staff meeting of Sheridan County commissioners Monday. But Isaas Sutphin, an attorney at the meeting representing Ramaco, said that wasn't true, and there will be a public hearing.

Tellez said landowners don't know anything about the mine. She said they aren't against the mine, but they want questions answered.

Commission Chairman Steve Maier said Monday's meeting was a staff meeting, not a public hearing or forum and, he said, county commissioners in fact have no jurisdiction over mines.

He said representatives of Ramaco did meet with him and Commissioner Bob Rolston, and he understands the company wants a research facility, which would require a zoning change. If that happens, he said, the county would hold public meetings on an application for a zoning change. But, he said, that would be separate from the company's coal-mining plans.

Commissioner Tom Ringley moved that the commissioners officially take a position that Ramaco and the DEQ should hold public hearings on the mine proposal, and the motion was approved 5-0. But Commissioner Bob Rolston reminded those at the meeting that the commissioners could only make suggestions.

The staff meeting was moved to the commission chamber due to the size of an audience that included county and city officials as well as area landowners and personnel with Sheridan County School District 1.