Forest Service, BLM to be challenged over approvals for new roads, methane venting
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Conservation groups say they will likely go to court to try and block a coalmine expansion in a roadless area 10 miles west of Paonia. The coal lease expansion paves the way for corporate giant Arch Coal to bulldoze 6.5 miles of road and 48 natural gas drilling pads through 1,700 acres — about three-square miles — of roadless forest for the company’s West Elk mine.
“The beautiful forests, ponds, and meadows of the Sunset Roadless Area are a natural wonderland that deserves protection, not destruction at the hands of one of the nation’s dirtiest industries,” said Ted Zukoski, an attorney with Earthjustice representing conservation groups who have challenged the mine expansion.
The Bureau of Land Management approved the coal lease expansion last week, a decision that followed an August 2012 Forest Service decision to “consent” to the destructive expansion on the Gunnison National Forest. The roadless area at stake includes forest of aspen and giant spruce, beaver lodges and meadows in an area used by hikers and hunters. The area provides habitat for lynx, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as elk, black bear, and hawks. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: Arch Coal, Bureau of Land management, Colorado, Colorado roadless areas, energy, Environment, West Elk coalmine | Leave a Comment »