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Westmoreland Coal Company files for bankruptcy

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World Coal,

Westmoreland Coal Company announced it will enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 9 October, following a recent trend in coal company bankruptcies caused by American energy consumers' increasing preference for cleaner, cheaper competitors, like solar and wind energy. Westmoreland’s announcement has been anticipated over the past year due to the falling demand for thermal coal and the retirement of dozens of coal-fired power plants.

During this time, public health groups, environmental organisations and community leaders have called on the company to ensure that they meet their environmental and labour obligations as the company declines.

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement: “Westmoreland’s declaration of bankruptcy is the latest clear signal that the coal industry is in an irreversible decline. With numerous coal companies facing bankruptcy in recent years, it is clear that further investments in coal are a mistake.

“The best course for Westmoreland Coal Company moving forward must be to ensure that there are adequate funds to clean up its mines and to treat its workers with the respect they deserve, including assisting them as they transition to new economic opportunities in thriving industries like clean energy. Nothing can stop America’s shift away from coal and toward clean energy, but the transition should be managed to ensure workers are treated with respect and that vital environmental obligations are honoured.”

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US coal news