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Matt Mead

Wyoming officials back various schemes in bid to rescue coal

Public enemy No. 1 for climate change and no longer the fossil fuel utilities prefer to burn to generate electricity, coal has few allies these days. But one state is still fighting to save the industry: Wyoming.

From a proposal to burn the stuff underground to hosting a contest to find profitable uses for carbon dioxide from power plants, the top coal-producing state has spent tens of millions of dollars for a coal savior — with little to show.

Big-time state spending was easy in Wyoming not long ago. Good times for coal, oil and natural gas created huge budget surpluses.

Now that all three industries are suffering from low prices, looming deficits in the...