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The Powder River Basin of northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana contains coal resources larger than those of any other basin of comparable size in the United States. These coal resources are developed in 16 strip mines for coal-fired power plants and for coalbed methane in more than 20,000 wells for distribution throughout the country.

During this field trip, strip mining methodology and technology at the Wyodak coal mine, and operations at the nearby Wyodak power plant and in coalbed methane fields will be observed and discussed. The power plant utilizes feed coal from the mine and supplies electricity for the City of Gillette and surrounding areas. Coalbed methane development in the basin has coexisted with coal mining since the early 1980s. The same coal beds that are being mined yield gas in the subsurface, which is produced, collected, and moved to pipelines to access the interstate pipeline grid to serve the Rocky Mountains, Midwest, and California customers.

Keywords: Powder River Basin, Wyoming, coal, coalbed methane, gas.

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