This Earth Day, will you stand up for local roadless forests and tell the Forest Service to stop the Arch Coal Colorado roadless forest give-away?

Can we count on you to attend the Tuesday May 12, 2015 Board of County Commissioners meeting and let your representatives know that it’s time to protect our roadless forests and our climate?

On April 6, the Forest Service announced that it’s considering re-instating a loophole that would allow coal mining in Colorado’s roadless forests in the North Fork of the Gunnison River. This proposal threatens picturesque mature spruce-fir and aspen forests that are at the base of 12,000 and 13,000 foot peaks in the headwaters of the Colorado River. These forests are home to black bear, Canada lynx, beaver, elk, mule deer, and Colorado cutthroat trout – iconic Colorado Rocky Mountain wildlife ― and all are put at risk with this proposal.

This isn’t the first time HCCA has stood up to this loophole to protect our local roadless forests. Last year, HCCA and our partners the Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, and Earthjustice won a landmark decision in federal court that invalidated this loophole because the Forest Service did not disclose the carbon pollution impacts the carve-out would have as a result of mining and burning 350 million tons of coal. Although the ruling invalidated the loophole, the ruling does not prevent the Forest Service from trying to cure its analysis errors and revive the loophole.

The April 6 announcement is the first step to resurrecting this destructive loophole ― despite the overwhelming negative impacts it would have on our forests and our climate.

If not stopped, this proposal sets the stage for Arch Coal―the second largest coal company in the country―to bulldoze our pristine roadless forests. These forests are essential wildlife, provide rugged recreation experiences, and serve as a vital carbon sink – an invaluable function as the pressures of climate change continue to rise. The negative impacts are only half of this damning proposal as it would also provide for 350 million tons of coal to be mined and subsequently burned, resulting in millions of tons of carbon pollution.

The Forest Service’s attempt to restore the loophole is also not compatible with creating diversified and resilient local economies that are insulated from the destructive boom-bust cycle of coal. It’s time for us to move beyond the dirty fuels of the past towards clean energy and strong, diversified, resilient economies. A Colorado roadless give-away to Arch Coal is anything but a step in this direction.

We need your help! Can we count on you to stand up for your forests and environment this Earth Day by telling the Forest Service to stop the Arch Coal Colorado roadless forest give-away? Take action now!

Don’t stop your action there! Save the date for the Tuesday May 12, 2015 Board of County Commissioners meeting where they’ll be taking public comment on this coal carve-out. We’ll keep you posted on what time the public hearing will be set so you can attend and tell the County Commissioners that it’s time protect our roadless forests and our climate.