The Bureau of Land Management is hosting a meeting next month to make public and take comment on an environmental assessment required as part of the leasing process for the Sage Creek Mine, which is located south and a little east of Hayden.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Bureau of Land Management is hosting a meeting next month to make public and take comment on an environmental assessment required as part of the leasing process for the Sage Creek Mine, which is located south and a little east of Hayden.

BLM seeking feedback on coal proposal

If you go …

What: Bureau of Land Management public hearing

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 17

Where: BLM Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St.

— BLM officials will hear public commentary on a proposed lease of 400 acres for coal production to Twentymile Coal Mine. The agency will also accept written public comments through Sept. 16. For a copy of the environmental assessment involved in the proposal, visit www.blm.gov/co/st..., or call 826-5000.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a proposal to lease an additional 400 acres for coal production adjacent to the Twentymile Coal Mine southeast of Hayden.

On Thursday, the agency released an environmental assessment of the proposal, as well as a geologic and engineering report and maximum economic recovery report on how the lease would affect Northwest Colorado.

The mine will operate as Sage Creek Mine, which could gradually replace Twentymile’s Foidel Creek Mine.

While the company will still mine private and state coal, the proposed 400 acres would be reserved specifically for federal coal.

BLM mining engineer Jennifer Maiolo said she did not foresee any major environmental concerns with the land.

“It’s all underground, so there would be no surface disturbance,” she said. “You wouldn’t even know it’s there when you’re driving on (Routt) County Road 27.”

The 400 acres contains an estimated 3.2 million tons of recoverable coal.

“If we don’t mine it, it would mean a loss of potential revenue,” Maiolo said.

The environmental assessment lists royalties for mining underground coal at 8 percent of the sales price. Based on the November 2010 average price of coal per ton at $43.50, the potential revenue would amount to $11,136,000.

BLM spokesman David Boyd said the agency wants to hear all possible concerns about the proposal from residents of Moffat and Routt counties, whether from local environmentalists, people concerned about the impact the proposal could have on the community or people involved with the mining industry.

Twentymile employs more than 430 workers in the area, according to a June report from Yampa Valley Partners.

“Coal is an important part of the economy, and we want to make sure people are heard,” Boyd said. “The more specific the comments, the better.”

Written public comments will be accepted until Sept. 16.

The BLM will also host a public hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St.

Agency officials will hear public comments about the documents in addition to discussing the fair market value of coal and the socio-economic effects of the Sage Creek proposal.

Boyd said he does not anticipate any strong resistance to the proposal.

“We’re not aware of anything really controversial, but that’s why we’re having the hearing,” he said. “I encourage everyone to go online and check out the assessment so they can see what it’s about.”

Copies of the environmental assessment report, and the combined geologic and engineering report and maximum economic recovery report are available at www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/lsfo.html, or at the Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St.

Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.