Home to just a few hundred people, the town of Nucla, Colorado, isn’t just tiny. It’s far from just about everything. Tucked into the western edge of Montrose County, it’s 350 miles from Denver and 60 miles from the nearest stop light.
For generations, this area — known as the West End — was a hub for mining. Most famously, they dug for uranium here and the area saw a big boom thanks to the Cold War era. Later, coal arrived to support a local power plant.
“You think things are going to boom forever,” said Jane Thompson, a 62-year-old longtime local. “They’re always going to need uranium. They’re always going to need coal.”
“Always” isn’t really a word you can use with mining. When uranium prices tanked in the early 1980s, the mines closed, and so did shops, bars and both movie theaters. Hundreds of people moved away and the area never really recovered.
Decades after uranium fizzled, a new blow was delivered when Tri-State Generation agreed to shut down Nucla’s power plant and the coal mine that supplies it to settle a clean air lawsuit. The plant and the mine were the town’s biggest employer, with more than 80 workers. The mine is now closed and the plant will shutter in 2022.
For the rest of this article: https://www.cpr.org/news/story/tiny-town-of-nucla-looks-to-a-future-without-mining-and-sees-opportunity-and-uncertainty