Financial concerns raised over Luminant's Tatum mine expansion - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Financial concerns raised over Luminant's Tatum mine expansion

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RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Financial concerns are now being raised over Luminant’s plans to expand its mines near Tatum.

Environmental groups argue that allowing for expansion at a time the company nears a possible bankruptcy could lead to the land not being restored if power plants and mines are forced to close in the area.

But both the company and the state said those concerns are unfounded.

Following the Texas Railroad Commission’s approval of Luminant’s Tatum mine expansion,    

Luminant and its parent company are currently saddled with more than $30 billion of debt, with analysts saying a bankruptcy is possible in just months.

Groups such as California’s Sierra Club have argued that the bankruptcy could lead to plant and mine closures that could in turn leave restoration of mined areas, estimated by the state at over $900 million, in the hands of the public.

But the Railroad Commission and Luminant both argue that outcome is not likely.

Luminant representative Brad Watson said any bankruptcy would be a Chapter 11 filing, solely a financial restructure that would not impact any day to day operations.

The Railroad Commission agreed, adding that the company continues to meet financial requirements and has a self-bond that covers the reclamation costs for all 13 of its sites. The commission also said that reclamation work is conducted on a continuous and ongoing basis as mining occurs.

Yet analysts cite the high cost of doing business for coal plants if new federal regulations up for consideration pass. Luminant estimates those regulations could add an estimated $1 billion in extra costs for the business in order to bring their coal facilities into compliance with new standards.

Even still the company said they have no plans to shut down any of its plants or mines and that communities should not be concerned about any job loss at this time. 

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