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Judge Stops Arch Coal West Elk Coal Mine Expansion in Colorado

Coal News - Published on Tue, 12 Nov 2019

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A federal judge blocked the 2,000-acre expansion of a coal mine in the wildlands of Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest, ordering the Trump administration to consider limiting methane emissions and address potential harm to water and fish. US District Judge R Brooke Jackson said the Interior Department violated federal law by failing to consider an alternative that would require flaring methane and by ignoring new information about the potential effects to perennial streams in the project area. Only a remedy that prevents new mining in the expansion area will avoid subjecting conservation groups’ valid objections to the bureaucratic steamroller.”

In July five conservation groups sued the Trump administration and asked the court to block approval of Arch Coal’s West Elk mine expansion, which would invade road less areas of western Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest.

Located in the iconic West Elk Mountains just east of the town of Paonia, the West Elk mine is one of the largest coal mines in Colorado. It covers more than 20 square miles of the Gunnison National Forest next to the West Elk Wilderness Area. The mining plan approved 8.4 miles of new roads and 43 new methane venting wells, anticipated to release almost 12 million tons of methane into the atmosphere.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 12 Nov 2019
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