On a recent Saturday, over Zoom, a group of seven high schoolers from Wyoming, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia gazed at an image of a gleaming, pale blue, coal-fired power plant.
“OK, so this one really interested us,” said Sarah Belcher, a senior from eastern Kentucky. “So we noticed your all’s coal facilities, they’re really new, state of the art. And around here, like they’re older, they’re really rusty. What has caused you all to be able to have that there?”
The power plant in the photo is Dry Fork Station, one of the newest coal-fired plants in the country. It’s located seven miles north of Gillette, Wyoming. The self-proclaimed “energy capital of the nation,” Gillette is surrounded by some of the most productive coal mines in the United States. In fact, Wyoming accounted for about 40 percent of all coal mined in the country in 2018.