For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Brian Willis, 202.675.2386, Brian.Willis@sierraclub.org

Westmoreland Files for Bankruptcy, Sierra Club Demands It Treat Workers with Respect, Meet Environmental Obligations

WASHINGTON - Westmoreland Coal Company announced it will enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy today, 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 organizations, and community leaders have called on the company to ensure that they meet their environmental and labor 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 honored.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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