Tuesday May 12 at 1:40 p.m. is an opportunity to take a stand on climate change by asking your County Commissioners to move beyond coal.  Moving beyond coal will also protect precious mid-elevation range roadless forests that are vital habitat for elk, mule deer, black bear, and Canada lynx.

The public hearing is on the Forest Service’s proposal to resurrect an exemption for coal mining and related road and well pad building in North Fork roadless forests.  The County process is to discuss the proposal and will shape what, if any, position the County may take. If resurrected, this exemption would have significant climate pollution impacts.  It would allow nearly 350 million tons of coal to be mined and then burned.  It also would allow hundreds of millions of tons of methane to be vented into the air.  The millions of tons of climate pollution that would result from this proposal does not move us towards climate resiliency.

To protect our snow pack, rushing rivers, and lush pastures, carbon needs to be kept in the ground ― and now is an opportunity to take local action to guard against negative climate disruption impacts caused by coal mined in our national forests.

This Tuesday ask your County Commissioners for leadership.  It’s time for Gunnison County leaders to set us on a path away from the toxic climate pollution impacts of coal and the boom-bust economy it brings.  Now’s the time to move beyond coal, a diminishing fossil fuel, and choose an innovative approach that will create diverse and resilient local communities and economies.

 If you’re in the valley Tuesday, May 12, attend the County Commissioner meeting at 1:40 p.m. in Gunnison at the Government Blackstock building.  Ask for leadership that moves beyond coal.  Can’t make it?  Send a written comment to the County Commissioners before the May 12 meeting to bocc@gunnisoncounty.org

Talking Points:

  • Arch Coal is not giving the County and our communities a fair shake.  It’s asked and received  royalty reductions but still provides excessive compensation to its CEO.  As a rural community that’s affected by climate change, at a minimum, Arch Coal needs to pay its fair share.  Encourage the County Commissioners to take their lead from the Town of Crested Butte and other mountains towns that submitted a letter this week stating that coal companies need to pay their fair share to American taxpayers.
  • Burning the mined 350 million tons of coal is the equivalent of nearly 700 million tons of carbon that would be released once it’s burned.
  • A recent study in Nature magazine concluded that to have a shot at keeping climate disruption to 2°C that 80% of global coal reserves need to stay in the ground.  A 2°C increase is the internationally agreed upon target we need to hit to limit catastrophic impacts of global warming.
  • Climate change stands to negatively affect our tourism-based economy.  In 2007, hunting brought in over $31 million dollars to Gunnison County and provided over 600 local Gunnison County jobs.
  • Roadless forests are vital carbon sinks to help counter-act climate change and provide essential habitat for big game and iconic Rocky Mountain species like Canada lynx.
Don’t let your action stop at the County level!  You can submit written comments to the Forest Service through May 22.  Tell the Forest Service it’s time to move beyond coal and that you want roadless forests protected.

Click here to learn more about the Forest Service’s proposal and HCCA’s efforts to keep coal in the ground and our roadless forests protected.  Feel free to call us as well at: 970-349-7104.