Thursday, December 22, 2016

Colorado roadless rule exception reinstated

On Monday, the U.S. Forest Service reinstated an exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule that allows for mining related activities in parts of the roadless area. The rule becomes effective on February 17, and opens the door for Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine to mine beneath 1,700 acres of roadless forest on the west side of Kebler Pass. The exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule was recently reevaluated through a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) after a federal judge ruled that the Forest Service had failed to fully quantify and analyze carbon emissions. By reinstating the exception, the Forest Service is allowing for the temporary construction of roads for coal exploration, the collection and transport of coal mine methane and other coal-related surface activities. Arch Coal is the only mine to have a pending application in the area in question, which would include building six miles of road and 48 drilling pads adjacent to the West Elk wilderness near Paonia. According to a press release from High Country Conservation Advocates and WildEarth Guardians, the Forest Service could approve the leases within weeks...more

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