Trapper Mine in Craig provides update to court |

Trapper Mine in Craig provides update to court

Patrick Kelly

Although an update was provided to the district court Wednesday, the diplomacy between Trapper Mining Inc., WildEarth Guardians and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has yet to produce results.

On July 1, Trapper Mining, Inc. filed a notice of correction statement with the district court withdrawing its argument for mootness in a claim brought by WildEarth Guardians.

In the statement, Trapper told the court the invested parties would provide an update Wednesday.

According to a document from Trapper filed with the district court, “discussions have been positive and productive.”

However, the unavailability of parties with final approval authority prevented the possibility of a final agreement between the parties.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson, the presiding judge, has not entered a court ruling on the updated situation at Trapper Mine.

Trapper Mine was spared in Jackson’s May ruling, unlike Colowyo Mine, under the pretense that the coal in question had already been mined.

However, attorneys for Trapper have come to realize the OSMRE plan at issue covers additional federal coal.

“It became understood that the footprint of the state and federal approvals were different,” said Paul Seby, attorney for Trapper.

In 2009, the Colorado Divi-sion of Reclamation, Mining and Safety approved a permit revision on two of Trapper’s federal coal leases. The permit revisions anticipated mining of approximately 8.1 million tons of federal coal on 312 acres.

At the same time, OMSRE determined the Trapper permit revisions necessitated a mining plan modification, and in 2009 it was approved as well.

Though it is true the mining done under the permit revision is 96 percent complete, Jackson’s ruling applies to all of the federal coal left under the 2009 mine plan — not just the 312 acres.

Invested parties will continue to collaborate on a solution and provide updates to the courts.

Samantha Ruscavage-Barz, staff attorney for Guardians, said the resolution will absolutely be based on Jackson’s finding that a remedial environmental assessment was necessary at Colowyo Mine.

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

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