Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Feds withdraw approval of plan to expand large Utah coal mine

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to withdraw for further environmental review a plan to expand Utah’s biggest producing coal mine.

The agency last year approved a plan by Arch Coal subsidiary Ark Land Co. to lease 6,175 acres of coal beneath the Fishlake and Manti-La Sal national forests, essentially expanding the company’s underground SUFCO mine east of Salina. But the Utah Environmental Congress and other groups appealed the decision on grounds that it violates the agency’s roadless rule and could threaten sage grouse.

This week, Fishlake National Forest Supervisor Allen Rowley withdrew the approval. The decision does not mean the expansion is thwarted, but rather that the agency will conduct more studies before deciding. Salt Lake Tribune