Second NW Colorado Coal Mine Set For Environmental Review

September 11, 2015
Photo: Trapper Mine near Craig, Colorado
A backhoe dumps coal into a haul truck at Trapper Mine near Craig, Colo. The coal is taken to a crusher behind Craig Station, a coal-fired power plant, to begin the process of turning it into energy. 

The Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining must complete a review of Trapper Mine by April 30, 2016, according to the agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. The mine will limit its digging to "certain areas," though a mine spokesman said no layoffs are planned.

Just last week, the nearby Colowyo Mine was cleared to keep operating. Litigation from the environmental group WildEarth Guardians had threatened to shut it down.. The New Mexico-based group has filed lawsuits against coal mines across the West, charging that the Department of the Interior didn't do comprehensive reviews when it initially approved mining plans.

All sides seem happy with the settlement. 

“As long as our miners can keep going to work and providing coal to Craig Station, I think it’s an awesome settlement,” Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid told the Craig Daily Press. 

"We agree," Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians said in an email. "It sets an expeditious deadline for Interior to fix its mistakes,"

Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who ordered the new assessment for Colowyo earlier this year, must approve the agreement.

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