Enlarge / A 133-car coal train moves slowly as it’s loaded at the Buckskin Coal Mine in 2006 in Gillette, Wyoming. (credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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The Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday that it would no longer make federally managed lands in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin available for new coal mining leases, drawing condemnation from the fossil fuel industry in the region that produces the most coal in the country, but delivering a boon to the nation’s clean energy transition.

The Powder River Basin, a geological formation that covers much of northeast Wyoming and a portion of southeast Montana, has been the nation’s largest source of coal for decades, with production there peaking in 2008. Since then, demand for coal has plummeted, largely due to the rise of natural gas and renewable energy. Taking federal coal off the table in the basin could all but put an expiration date on the nation’s thermal coal industry.

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