The U.S. Forest Service wants to update a public lands rule that would re-open the door for new coal mining on about 20,000 acres in south-central Colorado’s North Fork Valley. The agency this week posted a federal register notice seeking comment on a proposal to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule.
The proposal comes about a year after a federal court set aside the exemption after finding that the Forest Service failed to disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential mine operations and the combustion of coal from the area. Find the federal register notice and information on commenting here.In an updated environmental document, the agency now says that the coal mining operation would unleash between 1.3 million and 6.6 million tons of greenhouse gases, depending on the level of mining activity. Burning the coal would result in between 12.3 million to 36.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.