The clock is ticking on your chance to help protect thousands of acres of pristine roadless forest from bulldozing so a big coal company could mine more than 170 million tons of coal. The Forest Service is accepting comments on its proposal to open up three pristine roadless areas (Sunset, Flatirons and Pilot Knob) in Gunnison County to industrial coal mining.
The comment period ends on January 15th. Be sure to get your comment in no later than 10 p.m. mountain time, midnight eastern.
Your comments are particularly important because of today’s announcement of Arch Coal’s bankruptcy. Arch Coal is the primary beneficiary of this Forest Service proposal. This bankruptcy, and the fact that coal companies are beneficiaries of severely outdated and very low royalty rates governing coal on public land, should lead the Obama administration to question its proposal to subsidize Arch’s Colorado mining operation by opening up wildlife habitat and roadless forest land to bulldozing.
Telling the Forest Service to keep more than 170 million tons of coal in the ground will also prevent 72 miles of roads and up to 480 methane drainage wells from being bulldozed across roadless forests in the Upper North Fork Valley. The agency is taking public comment until January 15th on its supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Please consider making the following points in your comment:
- You support the No Action Alternative. The Forest Service’s Proposed Action to gut the Colorado Roadless Rule by opening up 19,700 acres of roadless forest in Gunnison County to coal mining should be rejected.
- The Proposed Action should be rejected because it would degrade sensitive roadless lands, worsen climate change, hobble renewable energy generation, and result in billions of dollars of damage to the global environment and economy, all while likely benefiting only a single corporation: Arch Coal.
- Mining the coal at issue could result in displacing a total of 40,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy from the grid over a 38-year period, and could cause up to $12 billion in costs to the world economy.
- The Forest Service must disclose the impact of methane pollution on the environment by including the social cost of methane in its analysis.
- The Forest Service should address the foreseeable impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat. Species found in and around the North Fork Coal Area include elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, wild turkey, Canada lynx, and greenback cutthroat trout, a federally-threatened species.
- The Forest Service is required to consider a range of reasonable alternatives, including an alternative that protects the Pilot Knob Roadless Area, and alternatives that reduce methane and climate pollution resulting from the decision.
Thank you for all you do for the environment!