U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is in Wyoming to tour some of the Cowboy State’s largest industries, hosted by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming.
Monday morning, the pair took a tour of Peabody Energy Corp.’s North Antelope Rochelle coal mine south of Gillette.
Enzi said after the tour that it was rare to have a secretary of labor from Washingtonv D.C., visit for more than a few hours.
“It’s also unusual because it’s not a visit to Jackson,” he said with a laugh.
Acosta agreed, saying that it’s important to him as secretary of labor to leave Washington to “meet the men and women who are building America.”
Mining jobs have seen an uptick in recent years and that has shown in the way sales tax dollars have come in to Campbell County.
Energy sector jobs in oil, natural gas and other fields also have rebounded since 2016, and Acosta said that it’s important for that growth to continue.
He said with smart deregulation, job site safety and promoting energy production on U.S. soil could continue that trend.
“We want to grow America,” he said. “We still get most of our energy from coal and we need to embrace that.”
Enzi said it’s important for top government officials to see with their own eyes the scope of what coal mines look like and how they operate in the Powder River Basin.
“It’s important to understand the miles we are dealing with, the few people that we have, the specialties we have developed and how important those are to supplying the rest of the nation with what they need,” Enzi said.
In 2018, Peabody’s three Powder River Basin mines — NARM, Rawhide and Caballo — produced more than 120 million tons of coal.
Secretary Acosta is a native of Miami and the son of Cuban refugees. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University and was appointed in April 2017 by President Donald Trump.
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- On March 20, 2019