The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Surface Reclamation and Enforcement have given the initial go-ahead to more coal extraction from the Colowyo Coal mine in western Colorado under a plan that calls for the mining company to donate land for the greater sage grouse.
The federal agencies released their assessment of the environmental impact of a proposal by Colowyo Coal to continue working reserves in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties first leased from the BLM in 1982. The agencies found the project would have no significant impact, The Denver Post reported.
Concerns were raised about the impact on greater sage grouse of a first draft of the proposal. Wildlife officials helped work out an alternative under which Colowyo would give the state 4,543 acres as habitat for the ground-dwelling bird whose numbers are declining.
The Collom Area Development Project is located on federal, state and private land in Moffat County. The project involves 220 mine jobs and provides $12 million in local, state and federal tax revenue, the coal company said in a news release.
“Colowyo Mining Company will use best practices to safely and responsibly mine coal from the Collom area,” said Lee Boughey, senior manager, corporate communications for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., which owns Colowyo Coal Company. “We will continue our ongoing work to reclaim and restore previously mined areas and the Collom area to significant amounts of high quality sagebrush habitat.”