Will Interior Secretary Jewell visit Craig? | CraigDailyPress.com

Will Interior Secretary Jewell visit Craig?

Patrick Kelly

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell stands with former Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers in 2013, visiting sage grouse habitat in Moffat County. Jewell has a series of events happening in Colorado in July and August, including a public listening tour. Craig is not on her list to visit. It's unclear if the secretary will make a trip to Craig, where two of its coal mines are battling litigation.

Despite upcoming trips to Colorado, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has made no plans to visit Moffat County and Colowyo Mine.

On Friday, Jewell will be in Aspen to speak as a part of the Aspen Institute's Hurst lecture series.

Department of the Interior spokeswoman Emily Beyer said a balance of the Jewell's schedule would be released later in the week.

Residents of Craig, which is approximately three hours from Aspen, have been hoping for a visit from Jewell ever since a federal district court ruled against the Interior Department and threatened to stop work at Colowyo.

"The optics of the secretary giving a speech in Aspen and not including a side trip to Northwest Colorado are horrible. We are at the epicenter of Department of Interior activity and our miners need to hear from her," said Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid.

Jewell was also encouraged to visit the region by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton.

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“The community needs to know, however, that you and the Department appreciate the importance of this to their livelihoods," wrote Bennet in a letter to Jewell.

On August 13, Jewell will be in Gillette, Wyoming, and five days later she will be in Denver to host listening sessions on the federal coal program.

The events are part of a five part series with additional sessions in Washington, D.C., New Mexico, and Montana.

According to a press release from the Interior Department, "The discussions will seek information from the public about how the BLM can best carry out its responsibility to ensure that American taxpayers receive a fair return on the coal resources managed by the federal government on their behalf."

The Denver and D.C. sessions will be available via video stream at http://www.blm.gov/live/

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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