Governor and DEQ Director visits Rocky Mountain Powers former mine site turned wind farm

Land Quality Division
Published: July 12, 2016

Today, Governor Matt Mead and Todd Parfitt, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director accompanied Rocky Mountain Power officials to the former site of the Dave Johnston coal mine to view the completed reclamation project and the current site of the Glenrock and Rolling Hills wind farms. 

Over 42 years the Dave Johnston Coal Mine produced approximately 104 million tons of coal to the Dave Johnston Power Plant. Today marks termination of jurisdiction and completion of the regulatory requirements of the State of Wyoming and the Office of Surface Mine Reclamation and Enforcement, including successful mine closure, reclamation and bond release on 4,732 acres of sagebrush grasslands in the southern Powder River Basin. The Dave Johnston Coal Mine has been self-bonded since 1988.

While this 11-mile tract of land produced coal from 1958-2000 to generate electricity for customers, today the same land has been restored to its natural state and is producing energy using a renewable Wyoming resource – wind. The governor’s visit today signals the ultimate completion of reclamation efforts on the site.

“The mine provided coal to produce low cost energy to thousands of homes and businesses throughout the region for four decades,” said Governor Mead. “At the end of its useful life, as we do in Wyoming, the land was restored to a better state, providing habitat for wildlife and agricultural production. Utilizing infrastructure in place from mining, today a 158-turbine wind farm producing 237 mega-watts of energy resides on the property. This is a model of mining, reclamation, repurposing land and our regulatory systems. Those involved in bringing us to today should be congratulated.”

"This is a positive conclusion to the life cycle of a mine facility demonstrating that the system can work and work well," said Parfitt, DEQ Director. "We'd like to congratulate and commend Rocky Mountain Power for their excellent work."

“Today is the final step in the reclamation process and includes 10 years of monitoring and scientific proof of the efficacy of this work,” said Cindy Crane, Rocky Mountain Power president and CEO. “The reclamation efforts have been taking place over a period of many years. The result we seetoday is that the legacy of electricity production for our customers continues now and for many more years into the future.”

The reclamation project has earned numerous awards including both the Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and the State of Wyoming Reclamation Award. During the reclamation, the company backfilled the mined areas to approximate original land contours, re-established drainage channels, reapplied top soil and planted seeds, sagebrush and shrubs. Besides restoring the landscape, enhancements were added to provide long-term grazing land and habitat for area wildlife. At the same time, the Glenrock, Rolling Hills and Glenrock III wind farms were constructed and began producing electricity for customers in 2008 and 2009.

“We’re proud of the work that has produced the unique evolution of this land,” Crane said. “And we appreciate the recognition Governor Mead has given this project by making this visit today.”

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