In an egregious act of climate denial, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining announced its intent today to approve two coal mine expansions, one in Colorado and one in New Mexico.
In Colorado, an expansion of the West Elk coal mine would allow Arch Coal to despoil roadless areas outside the town of Paonia in Colorado’s North Fork Valley. In New Mexico, the San Juan coal mine would be expanded—despite the fact that the nearby generating station it fuels is slated to close in 2022. “The Office of Surface Mining is essentially giving the coal industry a blank check to keep the San Juan mine in business for another decade or more. Unfortunately for miners and communities, that blank check is going to bounce,” said Guardians’ Jeremy Nichols.
Guardians called on the Office of Surface Mining to focus on providing assistance to workers and communities and speedy reclamation of mining operations, rather than approving more expansions.
Read the press release.